News Briefs: Utility Worker Loses Foot After Getting It Stuck in Pump

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, a dog is rescued from an aeration pond in Colorado; and a New Orleans-area utility is under fire for bullying customers

Although this first bit of news originates further from home than usual, it's a pretty wild story and a good reminder of the importance of proper safety practices on the job. A water utility worker in the Philippines lost his right foot after getting it stuck in a suction pump.

The 46-year-old man, Renato Peroso, told SunStar in an interview that he had to “slice his own foot with a knife” to get himself free.

He’d been asked to work overtime cleaning at Cebu Manila Water Development Inc. In the course of his duties cleaning, he slipped and his foot got caught. He wasn’t wearing any safety gear, according to SunStar.

The saddest part about this story is that after being rushed to the hospital and recovering, Peroso told reporters he was worried he’d lose his job, although apparently his boss said he didn’t have to worry about it.

In Pueblo West, Colorado, a dog recently was rescued by Pueblo West Fire Department firefighters after it had been stranded at the city’s wastewater treatment facility.

The 2-year-old English mastiff was located in an aeration pond at the wastewater plant, say the first responders who managed to rescue the dog and hose it off. The dog, named Gidget, apparently followed another dog from the house to the treatment plant, but only one of the dogs came back home.

"We have a hound dog that likes to play escape artist with the front door," the owner told SF Gate. "When he gets out Gidget, of course, follows."

The firefighters and the dog made it out of the fiasco unscathed, but with no apparent owner claiming the animal at the time of the incident, she was dropped off at the local animal control center and later picked up by her family.

KOAA News got some incredible pictures of the rescue.

A utility out of a New Orleans-area neighborhood has faced serious criticism over the past two years for alleged sewage in yards, uncontrolled chlorination levels, boil-water notices and a discharge near a school that may not have been cleaned up properly. But now, a crisis is brewing.

Representatives from two homeowner groups in Slidell, Louisiana, are accusing Tammany Utilities of falsifying reports, bullying homeowners and employing operators who don’t have proper certification.

“This has been going on for so long, uncorrected, that the residents around the lift station have refused to pay their Homeowner’s Association dues because they live in a sewer dump,” Turtle Creek neighborhood representative Neil Waguespack told the council, according to

Councilman Jerry Binder said there is a “tremendous lack of responsibility in Tammany Utilities East, according to the article. “This is unacceptable. If the people involved can’t solve the credibility problem, we need to get somebody else.”

Meanwhile, the bullying claims stem from a letter sent by utility leadership that accuses the unhappy homeowners of breaking, modifying or tampering with sewer pipes. The letter informed them they had 30 days to fix it before their water would be shut off and they would be fined daily.

And in Augusta, Georgia, a 20-week-old fetus was found by a worker at the Messerly Wastewater Treatment Plant in a piece of equipment.

Plant employees were apparently performing maintenance duties on the plant’s main grinder when the fetus was spotted.

The investigation into the case is ongoing, and access to the plant has been restricted to workers and authorities, according to the Augusta Chronicle.


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