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Life-Saving Properties of Sewage

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In April, a woman hanging out laundry on the sixth-floor roof of a building in Nanjing, China, fell off but was only slightly injured when she happened to land in a shallow pool of the contents of the building's septic system, which workers were cleaning.

A fiery auto crash in July near Augusta, Ga., had killed the driver and would likely kill the passenger, too, if the fire were not immediately smothered. Firefighters were still minutes away, but passing by was a pump truck from a local plumbing company, whose quick-thinking driver extinguished the flames with 1,500 gallons of raw sewage from a septic tank-cleaning job he had just finished.

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