Brendan Walsh is a professional sewage diver who, believe it or not, actually loves his job. He’s covered in poop for a large part of the day, every day, but that doesn’t seem to bother him at all. He runs a commercial diving business in Melbourne and he has been doing the job for over 25 years. “My company will do any job that involves wetness,” he proudly declares. “As long as there’s a fluid of some kind, we’ll attack it.”
But what in the world would anyone need to dive into a sewer for? Well, as it turns out, there are plenty of reasons. “Mostly we do general maintenance at the sewage farms but it could be rebuilding pumps or clearing blockages,” Brendan explained. “We found lots of false teeth but mainly male and female hygiene products. When we come back out we often have condoms hanging off you. People also don’t chew their corn,” he joked. Australia’s sewage farms need divers because they use bacteria to break down their waste, and not chemicals.
“It’s definitely not a job for the faint-hearted,” Brendan admitted. “It’s more thick than normal diving and you can’t see anything no matter what. It’s more like walking than swimming when you get down there.” Despite that, he says that working with sewage is like working with ‘brown-gold’. “I love my job and always have. I’m a passionate diver from way back, and I’m a mechanic. I’ve never worked a day in my life because I combine my passions. You can’t do a job well unless you love it,” he said.