News Briefs: 'Brain-Eating Amoeba' Kills New Jersey Man

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, an Arizona lab worker admits to helping forge a sample and a dog is rescued from a basin at a treatment plant

A 29-year-old man from Atlantic County, New Jersey, died after contracting Naegleria fowleri — also called the “brain-eating amoeba” — after he visited a wave pool at a Texas resort.

The man, Fabrizio Stabile, reportedly had a headache that wouldn’t subside overnight, according to a GoFundMe page set up by loved ones to create a foundation. After he slept through most of the next day, his mother checked on him to discover he couldn’t get out of bed or speak coherently.

Days later, Stabile tested positive for the amoeba, but it was too late to save him. Naegleria fowleri has a 98 percent mortality rate. It is usually found in warm bodies of freshwater and is contacted when water is inhaled through the nose.

Arizona Water Worker Pleads Guilty to Helping Forge Sample    

In May of this year, the Arizona Attorney General’s office charged Hans Burnett — a former worker for the City of Cottonwood’s water testing laboratory — with forgery and fraudulent schemes. A second employee is now pleading guilty to facilitation to commit forgery.

The employee, Matthew Wescott, had only been with the city a month or two at the time, and Cottonwood’s city manager says his charges are less serious because he was a new employee following his supervisor’s instructions.

“Other than this one issue, he really wasn’t involved that much,” the city manager tells “He went out and took one sample that they knew was probably going to come back as a positive for chloroform, and somebody, probably Hans, told him ‘Don’t worry about it, you collected it wrong, we’ll go take another one and just disregard this one.’”

Dog Rescued From Water Treatment Plant Basin

Emergency personnel in Bayonne, New Jersey, recently rescued a dog that had fallen into a basin at a water treatment facility.

Workers say they could hear the dog barking when they arrived to work in the morning.

Firefighters saw the pug, Roscoe, crouched behind a pipe at the bottom of the empty basin when they arrived. They then used a ladder to bring him to safety.

Roscoe was checked out by a vet after the incident and he’s doing just fine.

Slaughterhouse Study Questions Nitrogen Discharge Regulations

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that a study found one of Illinois’ pork-processing plants has discharged more nitrogen into waterways than any other slaughterhouse in the nation.

The study by the Environmental Integrity Project looked at 98 meat-processing facilities in the country, finding that a plant in Beardstown, Illinois, released 1,850 pounds of nitrogen per day on average into a tributary of the Illinois River.

According to the Tribune, an entire city with a population of 75,000 produces a similar amount of nitrogen in its raw sewage. However, the facility is within its legal discharge limits, which are lax compared to municipal wastewater treatment standards. The study has prompted a discussion about revisiting discharge regulations in the meat-processing industry.


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