Fetuses found in waste water 'most likely' came from West Ashley area, plant chief says

VIDEO: Water treatment plant worker discovers remains of fetuses

JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - The chief operating officer of a wastewater treatment plant said two fetuses discovered by workers "most likely" came from the West Ashley area, police say.

Two employees of the Plum Island Wastewater Treatment Plant on James Island found the remains of two fetuses in the water last week, according to an incident report.

The employees were cleaning out filter screens on Aug. 8 when they spotted what appeared to be a small hand, then a deceased baby at the bottom of the filter. One of the employees retrieved the remains of one baby, then spotted a second. The man's supervisor instructed him to call 911.

Neither fetus was completely intact, according to the incident report.

The plant's chief operating officer told investigators the plant takes in wastewater from James Island, downtown Charleston, Daniel Island and West Ashley. He also told police that he believed it was "most likely" the babies came from the West Ashley area because intake pipes from James Island, downtown, and Daniel Island have two-inch bar screens which would have prevented the preterm babies from making it through, the report states.

He also said the only way the fetuses could have gotten into the wastewater system is either by flushing them down a toilet or if someone lifted up a manhole cover and placed them into the system, the report states. Police say it would also have been possible for someone at the plant to place the preterm babies directly into the wastewater system there.

The Charleston County Coroner's Office said Monday it will not do further testing on them because the fetuses were in a state of early development. Authorities say it is impossible to tell how long they were in the water.

Officials with the Charleston Water System said there is no way to track exactly where they came from.

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