News Briefs: Secondary Digester Catches Fire at Billings WWTP

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, a lightning strike turns water brown in Massachusetts; and a worker is seriously injured after a 30-foot fall into a tank at a treatment plant

A secondary digester tank recently caught fire at a wastewater treatment facility in Billings, Montana, causing about $15,000 in damage and forced officials to block off the surrounding area in fear of a larger explosion.

The city’s public works director speculated that a fault in the plant’s electrical system may have caused the tank to catch fire, but the cause is still under investigation. No flaring was taking place when the fire began.

There was no disruption to wastewater treatment services.

A lightning strike damaged a water plant’s computer system in Mansfield, Massachusetts, has resulted in some murky water for area residents.

After that plant went offline, a second plant in Attleboro was doing double duty and approaching its 8 mgd max capacity. That issue has sent excess sediment into the water system and turned the water brown near the center of the city, according to officials.

Another problem resulting from the storm was a lack of chlorine in the water, as most of it had evaporated in the heat while the plant was shut down. The chemical must be slowly reintroduced to the facility’s 750,000-gallon tank.

A worker in Groton, Connecticut, recently fell 30 feet into a tank at a water treatment plant undergoing construction. The victim suffered serious injuries, according to WFSB News. The individual was transported via ambulance to a helicopter which made way to a regional hospital.

A wastewater spill in the Cannon river downstream from Northfield, Minnesota, recently hurt some area business that were relying on recreational rentals.

Business for canoe, kayak and tube rentals on the river typically is booming during the weekend of Independence Day, but a broken polyvinyl chloride pipe at Northfield’s wastewater treatment plant caused 1 million gallons of sewage to be released into the river in the early morning hours July 3.

“We thought we were going to be able to contain it within the building and not have any discharge, but the flooding caused electrical problems in the lower level and pumps begin to fail, and it wasn’t until 1 a.m. that we realized we were going to need to have the discharge,” public works director Dave Bennett tells MPR News.

Here’s a video recorded by the mayor of Northfield talking about this wastewater issue and others in the city recently. 


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