News Briefs: Human Error Causes Chlorine Tank Overflow

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, a video surfaces of firefighters using a leaf blower to rescue a kitten trapped in a 4-inch pipe at a treatment plant

A recent wastewater spill of more than 1.5 million gallons into Casco Bay was due to human error, according to a report by the Portland (Maine) Water District.

Before flowing into the bay, the spill from the treatment plant washed out part of the city’s Eastern Promenade Trail.

The report says staff noticed a chlorine tank had started overflowing shortly after 4 a.m. Workers had cleaned the tank the previous day and partially opened a valve to slowly fill it with effluent. However, the operator didn’t return to open the inlet gates all the way.

“So less than 12 hours later at 4:25 a.m., when the bypass control system was activated by high flows related to rain, the inlet gates were not sufficiently open and the flow was forced out of the front section of the contact tanks,” Scott Firman, director of wastewater services, told the Press Herald. “When the chlorine contact tank overflowed, an area adjacent to the tanks, a section of the walking path and the bank along the water was washed out.”

Firefighters recently rescued a kitten from a pipe at a wastewater treatment plant in Gallatin, Tennessee.

Staff had discovered the kitten trapped in a 4-inch pipe underground, according to fire department officials. The animal was rescued after crews ingeniously attached a leaf blower to the other end of the pipe and used the pressure to lift out the kitten and reunite it with its mother.

A video of the rescue is available here.

The water department in Dayton, Ohio, has declared an emergency in order to buy equipment to reduce levels of hydrogen sulfide in the wastewater collections system.

Although the department says the public isn’t in danger, one of its sewer interceptors tested at more than 2,000 ppm for hydrogen sulfide. Anything reading over 100 ppm is a potential danger to crews that need to work in the sewers.

“We want to reduce it so not only is it a safe work environment, but also so it maintains the integrity of the sewer as well,” Dayton’s water department director told the Dayton Daily News.

Dayne Walling, the former mayor of Flint, Michigan, is trying to make a comeback running for the Michigan House of Representatives. The only issue is that he’s the man best remembered for pushing the button that switched Flint’s water connection to the Flint River, kicking off a lead poisoning epidemic.

Walling wasn’t among the criminal indictments related to the Flint Water Crisis, but some activists say he’s still complicit in its cover-up. He’s up against five opponents in the Democratic primary slated for Aug. 7. 


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