CHARLESTON, S.C. — Divers spent two days deep inside a South Carolina sewer, pulling out huge balls of oily, black used wet wipes and baby wipes that had clogged intake pumps.

The Charleston Water System posted pictures of the masses of wipes on its Twitter account. It reminded people that only human waste and toilet tissue should be flushed. The cloth wipes, which have rapidly become popular, need to be thrown away because they are woven and don’t break down in water.

“We made this pic low-res for your benefit,” the system said on Twitter.

The system had to send the divers nearly 100 feet into a sewer well after the wipes, congealed by grease and other items sent into the pipes, clogged the suction intake pumps to the Plum Island Wastewater Treatment Center on James Island.

The divers couldn’t smell in their suits or see in the inky darkness. But as soon as they came back up, they got a bleach bath still in their suits.

It just wasn’t wipes. The divers found pieces of metal, a baseball and less unusual items like tampons, string, hair, makeup pads and assorted paper, authorities said.

A push to remind people that flushable wipes often aren’t flushable has helped some in the past few years, Charleston Water System Chief Operating Officer Andy Fairey said.

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