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56,000 Gallons of 'Sugary' Sewage: Mountain Dew Syrup Spill in Pepsi Plant Prompts Environmental Concern

Apr 12, 2017 10:38 AM EDT
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Mountain Dew, anyone? Around 7,200 gallons of concentrated Mountain Dew syrup literally went down the drain after a tank at the Pepsi Cola bottling plant on Mason Road in Howell exploded last month.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) analyst Carla Davidson told Livingston Daily that the Mountain Dew syrup spill initially prompted environmental concern, citing that the sugary syrup could harm wildlife when it reaches rivers or streams.

Speaking to 7 Action News over the phone, Davidson said the company did not report the spill immediately. Rather, they decided to direct the Mountain Dew syrup spill to their pre-treatment system.

Inverse noted that the pre-treatment system was supposed to use bacteria to break down the high-sugar waste before it's released into the public sewage system. However, due to the massive amount of the sugary compound mixed with sewage waste (56,000 gallons), the Pepsi Cola plant started to have a huge foaming event.

That was when Davidson got a call; it was two days after the actual spill. By the time Davidson got to the plant, the massive Mountain Dew syrup spill was already under control.

A spokesperson from Pepsi said that because of the low temperature, the foam froze and they were able to scrape it. None of the Mountain Dew/sewage mix made it into the public sewer system.

Although Pepsi said in their official report that they managed to contain the unusual sugary spill, the incident has still prompted concern. First, Davidson wanted to know why the tank exploded, and second, why the company attempted to treat the problem without intervention for two days.

"They have an equalization basin; they knew there was a spill and they could have tried to isolate it, then have that waste water hauled away to protect the integrity of their pretreatment system," she said, adding that the company did not follow proper procedures as recommended by DEQ.

The DEQ is still working with Pepsi to make sure that not a trace of the toxic residue will go to lakes and harm any wildlife.

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