You could be a ‘phantom dumper’ and not know it

Posted at 4:25 PM, Mar 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-08 09:33:05-05

OREM, Utah - Orem’s “phantom dumper” is still a mystery.

The city has posted a video on its Facebook page reminding its neighbors about what is appropriate and legal to dump down the toilet.

Along with the video, the city writes quote “…each of us had the potential to be the Phantom Dumper.”

It’s alluding to the problem when items are thrown down the pipes and cause clogs and extra maintenance work for the water reclamation center.

The “phantom dumper” started dumping a paper-like material into the city’s sewer system back in June.

He or she did it almost weekly and it cost the city more than $100,000 in labor, time, and vacuum and water pressure machines.

The water treatment center’s section manager Lawrence Burton hopes the video helps educate people but also keeps them aware the “phantom dumper” is still out there.

“Most people take the sewer system for granted,” said Burton.  “They think whatever will flush down the toilet is fine and things come into the treatment plant that are supposed to be there. They (kitty litter, facial tissues, flushable wipes, non-flushable wipes, cotton swabs, feminine hygiene products, dental floss) aren't bio-degradable.

They come into the plant and they plug up screens; we hall about one-and-a-half cubic yards of paper and plastic products every week. They come down the sewer system. We just want people to be aware of the service we offer to the citizens of Orem and citizens of Lindon.  We take a lot of pride in what we do; a lot of times sewer work is looked down on a little bit but it's a vital part of our society.  If we didn't have it, the disease would be rampant. The video just helps people to know that the treatment plant is a very sensitive operation. It has a biological activity that can be harmed quickly by putting the wrong thing down.”

The city of Orem and Lindon have in total 6,000 manholes that the city is trying to monitor to find who might be doing the illegal dumping.

There is a reward of $2,500 dollars offered by the city for anyone who leads them to the person or people involved.

"It's an ugly truth, but each one of us has the potential to be a Phantom Dumper. Make sure you're not flushing anything down the toilet that would compromise the sewer system, especially so-called "flushable" baby wipes." - City of Orem