Sewer Inspector
sewer worker crawling out of manhole

Sewer workers clean the bowels of the city to keep our waste out of the streets and to keep our water clean.

©iStockPhoto/Mathieu Aucher

Rats, roaches, dark passages and the occasional corpse -- no, we're not talking about a day in the life of Indiana Jones. In a much less glamorous role, the sewer worker deals with all of this stuff and more while braving the depths of the hundreds of miles of sewers beneath our cities.

After we've done our business in the bathroom, all we have to do is flush our waste goodbye, and we'll never have to see it again. But this isn't the case for the people who take care of our sewer systems. Their job entails walking and sometimes crawling through sewer tunnels to inspect for cracks, clogs and other problems. As if wading through human excrement didn't sound bad enough, some workers are also sewage divers. As you probably guessed, they have to go all out to swim through sewage to clean out clogs. In addition to the excrement, smell, and creepy crawly bugs and rats, sewer workers sometimes come across dead bodies, both animal and human.

Before you write off these employees as nuts for voluntarily diving into human waste, note that, with above a high school education, they can make over $60,000 a year [source: Speer]. Many people consider sewer inspectors noble stewards of Mother Earth because they keep our water and our streets clean.