S.O.S.-Save Our Septic® Volume 14: Fear the FOG
Application: Mighty Mike® FOGHog® Treatment Tablets are an easy, environmentally safe way of breaking down buildup of fats, oils and greases.
Savannah Mitchell felt her heels sink into the moist, mushy ground and was glad she’d changed into her serviceable, waterproof wellies. Overflow from the zoo’s pumping station that usually moved mass quantities of wastewater to the municipal treatment plant had turned the beautiful grassy courtyard into squishy, smelly goo overnight.
This messy development came on the heels of the zoo’s most successful season ever. A popular series of promotional programs had attracted record numbers of delighted visitors, brought capacity crowds to the zoo’s restaurants—and resulted in an obviously overwhelmed pumping station.
“Luckily, the zoo is closed on Mondays,” Savannah thought to herself as she jotted notes on her tablet. “That gives us a day to mobilize our strategy for dealing with this mess.” She reached for her cell phone to summon key staff members to an emergency meeting, but it slipped from her grasp. She watched in horror as it fell toward the gunk at her feet.
Before it could hit the ground, a blue and silver mechanical arm scooped it from the air and handed it to her.
“Thank you so —” Savannah looked up, stopped mid-sentence, and frankly stared at the tall bionic figure a foot or so off the ground in front of her.
The figure said cheerfully, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”
In her decade of leadership at various zoos, Savannah had seen more exotic creatures than most people, but this was a first. She recovered her composure, “No, sorry to seem rude, but the zoo is closed today and I wasn’t expecting anyone but my staff, especially not a, er—well, what exactly do you call yourself?”
“My name is Robust or Rob for short,” Rob answered, “I am a BioMicrobics Onsite Treatment Specialist or B.O.T.S. I was passing overhead, and because I was traveling downwind, I could definitely sense that you had a predicament down here. I thought I might be able to help.”
“I’m Savannah Mitchell, zoo director. If you can shed some light on why our pumping station isn’t working, I’m very pleased to meet you.” She hesitated, “I’ve never seen a B.O.T.S. before.”
Rob asserted cheerfully, “Well, if you had seen one of us before, you probably wouldn’t have your current problem. I can already tell that there was an overflow in your pumping station, most likely caused by a clogged pipe. Do you mind if a take a look? Have you turned off all water sources?”
“Yes, the water’s off. I had just arranged for landscapers to come and repair this lawn and I was heading back to the pumping station to meet some of my maintenance crew there.“
As they walked along, Savannah kept jotting things on the tablet. Rob commented, “Your to-do list just seems to be getting longer.”
“Well, you know what they say about a zoo director.” Savannah smiled and looked down at her messy boots, “‘The muck stops here.’ Zoo humor. We find it helps us cope with situations like this.”
Rob chuckled appreciatively as he removed the top of the pumping station and directed his flashlight beam on the different pipes to check them.
“I think I’m right. Take a look,” he said to Savannah and the maintenance workers gathering around the pumping station. He aimed the flashlight beam into the pipe. “There is so much buildup of fats, oils, and grease on the floats that they are stuck. These floats are a major piece of the pump station because they determine when the pump is to turn on and off. Everything that flows into the pump station is now all over your grass.”
“Yes, I can see it,” Savannah responded, “Ugh, this looks like a huge problem. Does this mean the zoo will have to be closed a long time? ”
“Actually not,” Robust replied, “The initial cleanup might be messy, we will need a pumper truck in here for the immediate removal. The current buildup inside the pump station can be fixed easily with the Mighty Mike™ FOGHog® Tablets.
“Did you say ‘fog’?” Savannah asked.
“Yes, FOG, F-O-G—it stands for fats, oil, and grease. Mighty Mike™ FOGHog® Tablets devour them all,” Robust explained.
“But we have to be very careful of any products we use here because of the animals,” Savannah cautioned.
“Oh, no worries,” Rob assured her. “The tablets are composed of class 1 bacteria, which by definition means they are non-pathogenic to humans, animals, or plants. The tablets can work in either aerobic or anaerobic conditions, so they’ll do fine in your pumping station, consuming waste and breaking fat down naturally so it doesn’t build up. It can cut grease buildup up to seventy percent.”
“Wow,” Savannah said impressed, “How do we use them?”
“Well, first, we need to remove the FOG buildup; you can dissolve 1-2 tablets in water and pour it onto the floats for immediate use.”
He continued, “Then just add one FOGHog® tablet per five hundred gallons of water that you use per week. You can also put the tablet directly into problem areas. Then just sit back and let the product do the work. It helps protect your pipes, but, best of all, using the tablets will prevent sewage backups and overflows like this one, no matter where the termination point.”
“That sounds great, but are you sure this will work for our specific pumping station?” Savannah persisted. “This zoo produces a wide variety of wastewater contaminants.”
“Yes, I am sure that it will fix your problem,” Rob answered confidently. “The tablet is typically used for wastewater produced by kitchens, eateries and other types of food institutions. You have lots of restaurants and snack shops here in the zoo that would produce this type of ‘FOG’ waste.”
“Well, then, how can we get our hands on some of these tablets?” Savannah asked.
“I’ll give you the contact information for a distributor in this area and you can purchase the tablets immediately through them.” Rob answered. “Then you’ll be able to prevent any future issues like this and continue to keep this zoo open.”
Rob saw a worried look flash across Savannah’s face. He asked, “Was there something else?”
Savannah sighed, “Next month, we’ll be receiving a rare albino polar bear for the zoo, which will be great for our reputation and our attendance, but the animal’s enclosure isn’t ready. We have all the supplies to finish it, but since we’ll have to reallocate resources and manpower to this clean-up situation, I’m not sure the enclosure can be ready in time now. It was quite a coup to score this acquisition, but as you can imagine, the environment for an animal like this is a challenge anyway, and now with this time crunch. . .” Savannah stopped talking and began jotting again. “I’m sorry, you’ve been a tremendous help. I didn’t mean to unburden on you.”
“You know, I could help you out with this, too,” Rob said with a smile. “I love zoos and I wouldn’t want you to lose the opportunity to receive such an awesome exhibit. I’m guessing the polar bear’s enclosure includes water—correct?”
“Indeed, lots of water.”
“Well, I happen to know a lot about water,” Rob responded eagerly. “How about allowing me to help you get the enclosure finished on schedule—”
Savannah started to protest, but Rob went on, “And perhaps in exchange I can have a zoo pass to see the polar bear when he arrives. Can you arrange that?”
“Of course I can,” Savannah laughed and pointed to her boots again, “I’m the high muckety-muck here, remember.”
Rob grinned, “More zoo humor, right?”
In the weeks that followed, Robust was at the zoo often to help prepare the albino polar bear’s enclosure, while Savannah eagerly shared factoids about the new acquisition. She explained that even though most polar bears appear white, their coat is actually transparent and their skin is in fact black. So while this polar bear’s dense coat would protect its unpigmented skin from ultraviolet rays quite effectively, its eyes, nose, and paw pads would be require special protection from the sun. She also insisted that its habitat be as natural as possible, with several vantage points for visitors to observe the magnificent animal.
Rob brought new questions about the bear on each visit. By the time the enclosure was finished, he and Savannah were fast friends—and he had become a storehouse of polar bear information. He promised to return when the exhibit opened.
The first weekend the polar bear was in his new enclosure, Robust flew to the zoo and touched down lightly beside a group of youngsters watching in amazement as the massive polar bear frolicked in his pool with a huge rubber ball.
“Would you like to learn more about the albino polar bear?” Robust asked them, eager to share all the polar bear facts that Savannah had told him.
They turned around and became even more amazed as the B.O.T.S. beside them. They glanced at each other in silence and then the tallest boy answered, “Um, actually, mister, I think we’d rather learn more about you.”