What’s the Wildest Thing You’ve Found in a Sewer?

A 25-year drain cleaning and trenchless expert tells you about the craziest things he’s found in sewers. What have you found?
What’s the Wildest Thing You’ve Found in a Sewer?
How the heck does a baseball bat makes its way into a private sewer lateral?

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With more than 25 years in the municipal and industrial sewer and drain business, I have had my share of odd customers requests, made some crazy sewer finds, and even tried a few unconventional things to get a job done. 

Crazy isn’t always bad, but some things you just don’t see every day — and you probably won’t see again during your career. 

The recent 5 Craziest Things Found in a Sewer article on Cleaner.com listed some pretty off-the-wall things found in a sewer, but here are some of the craziest things I’ve seen. Take a look and let us know what you’ve found. 

1.     A baseball bat. During a recent mainline sewer inspection with a robotic CCTV camera, we discovered a baseball bat protruding from a private sewer lateral.

With an 8-inch mainline and 4-inch lateral, the bat protruded into the main, however, it did not impede flow enough to cause a backup. How on earth a baseball bat ended up here has been a topic of great debate among our technicians.

2.     A shopping cart. In a large 96-inch brick sewer interceptor, imagine the surprise of the sewer cleaner operator who pulled a shopping cart back on his large-diameter jet hose. Thankfully, he was able to pull the cart back and out through a 36-inch doghouse-style manhole.

3.     A bowling ball. What makes this particularly interesting is the type of bowling ball. During a 36-inch sewer interceptor cleaning and inspection project, we found a full-size bowling ball, but the bowling alley located near the job offered candlepin bowling. My foreman thought I was crazy when I looked almost 25 feet into the sewer invert and told him it was a blowing ball. He didn’t think I was crazy after I managed to get it stuck to the bottom of my 8-inch vacuum hose and pull it out.

4.     A set of teeth. A large RV dealer called us to find a pair of false teeth in an RV sewer line because a customer had lost them down the toilet. We used a small push camera and a hook to find — and retrieve — the teeth and return them to the owner. (We only hope he washed them very well!)

5.     A coffee can pipe patch. During an inspection of a 6-inch PVC gravity sewer, we came upon a pipe defect that had been repaired in the past. However, the repair material was a Maxwell House coffee can used as a type of mechanical pipe wrap. Amazingly, the can was in very good condition and had held the sewer together for quite a long time. We were able to complete a proper CIPP spot repair over the section, which should extend the pipe’s life for another 50 years. 

About the Author
Matt Timberlake is vice president of Ted Berry Company, Inc., a municipal and industrial services and trenchless technologies company located in Livermore, Maine. Contact him at matt@tedberrycompany.com or www.tedberrycompany.com.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever found in a sewer? Post a comment below.


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