Sewer Inspector Swept Away After Unhooking Safety Harness
Photo: Courtesy Of Pierce County Public Works & Utilities

Firefighters rescued a 37-year-old laborer after he was swept 3,500 feet through a concrete sewer line he was preparing to reline at the Chambers Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant near Tacoma, Wash. The employee of Seattle’s Frank Coluccio Construction, lead firm on the relining project, was working in an existing 72-in. concrete raw pressure line about 80 ft belowground on March 21. Investigating the pipe while hooked to a wench-and-cable system, the laborer ran out of line and wanted to look a few feet farther down the pipe; rather than exit the pipe, he unhooked to get more line. The water’s strong flow knocked him off his feet, carrying him past the “mancatcher.” He was pulled to safety after stopping himself in a 4-ft-dia section of pipe.