▶️ Madras treatment plant battles grease-loving bacteria

By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

This is the first time Norcardia, a filamentous bacteria that loves grease, has appeared in Madras’s south wastewater treatment plant.

After identifying the culprit, plant operators began treating it with a cocktail of micronutrients and enzymes, some of which came from the Redmond waste water treatment plant.

“It seems to be working,” Daniel Hall, Madras wastewater utilities director, said. “We’ve eliminated most of our foam but that dying bacteria. That’s what’s causing our odor issues.”

The smell, in Hall’s words, is “funky.”

He says Madras residents can help prevent this problem by reducing the amount of fats, oils and grease going into the sewer system.

Hall says the public knows not to pour cooking oil down sinks or toilets.

“It’s the other things such as salad dressings, yogurt and milk products,” Hall said. “Just rinsing your plates off can cause a lot of fog to come into the sewers.”

When oils and grease enter our pipes and sewer system, it sticks to the walls until a clog occurs causing sewer overflows in your homes and our streets.

Wastewater treatment plants across the country wage a never-ending battle with fats, oils and grease that cause sewage system problems. And they help each other when problems arise.

“It’s called re-seeding, which is basically bringing our bacteria, our microorganisms, to their facility to start it up,” Ryan Kirchner, Redmond wastewater division manager, said. “It would be similar to someone saying ‘here have some yogurt to help out the bacteria in your belly.’”

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