An unexpected grease incident occurred at a wastewater treatment facility in Montana, USA. The effects created were so strange that they could be mistaken for scenes from a Hollywood B-Movie.
In fact, many workers and onlookers described the incident as being vaguely reminiscent of the 1988 Sci-fi Horror “The Blob”
The plant had to shut down for six hours after bacteria used in the treatment system consumed too much grease, according to the report.
The post-incident report stated “County workers broke a ‘huge grease dam’ ... on March 29 that had been plugging the sewer line. Once those chunks of grease made their way to the treatment plant, the brown bacteria inside the plant engorged itself and bloomed out of control,”
Eyewitness reports claim “The foam grew so large workers opened the plant doors to let the bacteria, which looked like something out of the 1988 Hollywood horror movie ‘The Blob,’ roll out,”
The unfortunate result of this incident is that 550,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater had to be released into the environment. The environmental effects of this wastewater release have not been determined
A senior treatment plant operator, stated that workers are going to try to prevent grease blocks from getting so large in the future.
He noted that this wastewater system is a “closed system,” so the bacteria, which exists in all treatment plants like this one, "has no place to go" when it grows, according to the report.
The plant operators do not anticipate this happening again and say it was an isolated incident. Local workers have tools and techniques to be able to prevent such incidents by isolating a grease blockage when it is encountered. This allows them to stop the flow through the pipeline, remove the blocked section for cleaning and then restore the normal flow thereafter.
Specialized vacuum trucks can be used ti remove blockages as they are encountered however these high-tech machines are not cheap. As is often the case, prevention is far less expensive than the cure. According to sources, the local government plans to hire new superintendents for the plant and other officials working in the area to better police what restaurants are able to pour down the drain. Regular inspections may be costly but far less expensive than a massive clean- up due to a blockage and far less damaging to the local environment.