Oh, Deer! 9-Point Buck Rescued From Clarifier

This whitetail took a dive in a water treatment plant clarifier. Watch the rescue video that's gone viral.
Oh, Deer! 9-Point Buck Rescued From Clarifier

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When making rounds, a treatment plant operator’s tasks typically do not include removing deer from clarifiers. But that wasn’t the case one recent afternoon in Springfield, Illinois.

A deer found its way into a clarifier at a plant operated by Springfield City Water, Light & Power (CWLP) on Dec. 27. Todd LaFountain, general superintendent of water purification, estimates the deer was swimming around the basin less than an hour before it was discovered by an assistant operator.

“We have two operators on staff at all times, and this was part of the assistant operator’s round. He was doing his basin checks,” he says. “He noticed the deer and came in and told the senior operator. Then he contacted me.”

The Springfield Fire Department and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources were brought in to aid with the rescue. They looped a rope through the deer’s antlers to lead it to one side of the clarifier. Six people then pulled it out and held it down to remove the rope. Once free, the deer scampered off site toward the east, LaFountain says.

“That particular basin is not in service in the winter since we have a bit more basin capacity than what we need, but we still keep it full of water,” he says.

In 21 years with CWLP, LaFountain says he can’t recall any similar incidents, though some longtime CWLP employees say this isn’t the first time a deer has required rescue.

“I don’t know how much truth there is to it, but someone remembers a deer getting stuck in the raw water channel sometime in the mid to late 1980s,” LaFountain says.

CWLP shared a video of the rescue on Facebook that has received nearly 100,000 views.


SFD E2,T2 with DNR and CWLP rescue this deer. Great job guys.

Posted by Todd Taylor on Sunday, December 27, 2015


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