For most of us, our jobs are shitty only in the figurative, but not literal sense. That’s not true for Julio Cou Cámara, who literally spends his workday swimming in excrement, urine and other waste products in the sewers of Mexico City. Because of a odd way the city’s sewage system was constructed, if a blockage occurs, it can cause flooding immediately—or worse—so the government employs two full time divers who jump into the stinky muck and then grope—blindly, of course—to find the obstuctions and remove them before any damage is done. Yucky, yes, but fascinating!
From a long and interesting article on Edible Geography:
People often ask me what I see down there. Do I find money or jewellery? No, you can’t really see any of those things. Montezuma’s treasure may be down there, but I will most likely never find it, because you can’t see anything—all you can do is feel blockages.
In terms of things we come across: we find lots of cigarette butts. I’ve had blockages caused by pieces of carpets, pieces of cars, or even body parts. Removing these kinds of things from the sewage is part of our work. People who work nearby or are walking past think, “Look at that crazy guy, he’s getting into the sewage.” But yeah, of course—that’s just what we do.
A normal day for me… well, what can I tell you? I go into the office, and if there are no emergencies then we work on maintaining the equipment. This equipment has to be in one hundred percent perfect condition—it mustn’t fail. My other colleague and I have our gear ready at all times. We work during the night as well as during the day. It’s not as though day or night makes a difference for us, because we can’t see anything down there anyway.
Julio the Sewer Diver (Edible Geography)
Sewer Diver in Mexico City, World’s Worst Job? (includes video) (National Geographic)
Deep-Slime Divers Keep Vast and Smelly Sewers Flowing (Washington Post)
Thank you Paul Gallagher!
Posted by Richard Metzger |
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