South Carolina

Massive clog of ‘flushable’ wipes removed from SC sewers by divers, officials say

The snarl of “flushable” wipes that clogged South Carolina sewers was so thick, it took a team of divers three trips to remove it Monday, the Charleston Water System said.

The Lowcountry utility posted some photos on Twitter of what was exhumed from the sewers. The pictures show a gnarled, twisted clump that is overflowing from the bed of a John Deere front loader.

The water system tweeted its divers needed so many trips into the sewer to identify and unclog the obstruction.

The Charleston utility might have had a suspicion about the clog, since a similar heap of wipes was removed last October, according to the tweet.

Less than a year ago, divers submerged about “90 feet into raw sewage” to remove the mound of wipes, The State reported.

The water system tweeted more than two loads of the wipes were pulled from the sewers in October.

A baseball and a hunk of metal were also recovered by the Charleston utility, which tweeted only three things should be flushed down a toilet: “#1, #2, and toilet paper.”

Noticeably absent from that list were wipes.

Wet wipes have caused problems for sewer systems around the world. A story in The New York Times said water and sewer officials spent $18 million dollars over five years on wet wipe-related sewer problems.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State focused on breaking news, public safety and trending news. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
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