Discovery Channel’s “Sewer Divers” may showcase the dirtiest work.
Airing Jan. 1 at 9 p.m., the series explores centuries-old sewer systems across the country and the brave workers, including 35-year-old Don Gann, who perform important tasks that most people don’t want to think about. Dirty Water Don,” who featured in the first episode.
“I have a lot [close calls] for years,” Gann told The Post. “I was pinned down, things that I couldn’t get out fell on me. [and] another diver had to come to get me. I dug a hole for an underwater cable and buried it. The hole collapsed on top of me, so every time you take a breath, the mud constricts you even more. You have to control your breathing, stay calm and trust the guys you have [above the manhole].
“No matter how scary the job is, the guy next to you has to be as good as you are.”
Gann, a father of three, resides in North Arlington, NJ. He is a tradesman specializing in welding, woodworking and sewer repair. He fell into a sewer well and sank into the mud below five mists.
“A lot of people think we can swim like fish,” he said. “It’s very difficult to go with the flow and you can’t see what you’re doing. You rely on your 10 eyes with your fingers. So, basically, all the dirty and disgusting things that people don’t want to touch – we have to touch them to understand what we’re doing.
In the series premiere, Gann wears a $3,000 rubber suit and a 36-pound helmet that protects him from toxic chemicals and waste.
“Once you attach the neck brace — the suit to the helmet — your mobility is limited. It’s hard to take off on your own,” he said. “Most people in this industry don’t last long, because they are claustrophobic.The [manhole] small, the ladders are unusable or broken there. Usually there is a stream or the area is very slippery so you can’t stand or move well. You certainly believe in your guys above. There are several risks. Electric shock, many diseases related to diving. You can lose a limb. You could lose your life.”
Gann said he hopes viewers who tune into “Sewer Divers” will gain a new appreciation for what he and his colleagues do on the job every day.
“When somebody drives past us in a rush in the morning and we’re closing the roads, we’re creating a traffic delay – and they see three guys standing around the hole – we get a lot of bad press,” he said.
“They’re like, ‘Oh, what are these guys doing, just standing around?’ People drive by and yell at us. People drove by and threw garbage at us. Meanwhile, under [surface of the road], you have a guy who works to make sure you can go home after work, flush your toilet, and you don’t have to ask, “Where does it go?” You believe you can push a button and walk away.