A Week After They Found Pig Blood in the Trinity, Still So Very Many Questions

Categories: Schutze

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The back and forth between the city and Columbia Packing Pant on the January 19 river-of-pig-blood incident is fascinating on a bunch of levels. If nothing else, it would seem to raise urgent questions about the way industrial facilities all over Dallas pump waste into the city's sanitary sewer system.

This is the place where a guy flying a remote-control mini-airplane with a camera accidentally discovered a red plume of what turned out to be pig blood -- and guts, apparently -- rushing down a creek and straight into the Trinity River near the city's troubled man-made kayaking park.

And by the way, as far as I can tell, no one has thought to ask the "playboat" kayakers who use the city's fake rapids whether pig blood degrades or enhances the site as a venue for their sport. Given their behavior so far on other issues, I wouldn't be surprised if they like it.

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Via sUAS News
Columbia Packing claims it's all the city's fault for not clearing a clog in their sanitary sewer line. City officials, in their own statement, don't come right out and say it, but it's obvious from their detailed complaint that they think Columbia caused the clog by pouring the wrong stuff down the drain.

Here's where I think most of us average citizens are. We're scratching our heads thinking, "Wait: There's a legal way to pour a river of pig blood and guts into the city's sanitary sewer system?"

The obvious answer is yes. In a laundry list of complaints against Columbia, the city is claiming that the packing plant was way outside the law in the way it was disposing waste from its pig-slaughtering operation. The violations cited include pouring a lot of grease, pig flesh and pig hair into the sewer.

Columbia, for its part, is saying it put the pig blood, pig flesh and pig hair into the sewer the right way, but that the city failed to keep the sewer unclogged.

No, wait. Tell me again. There's a right way to put pig blood, pig flesh and pig hair down the sewer? Yeah, there is. It's all done under permits -- a system that should allow the city to know what kind of infrastructure it needs to have in place to handle the waste.

So no matter what happens and who did what, we know that the infrastructure in place to handle waste from this near-century-old packing plant operation doesn't work. We don't know if it doesn't work because the city hasn't kept it up -- always a distinct possibility -- or because the plant has gotten sloppy over the decades about keeping up its own infrastructure, which also is possible.

Let me just ... one more time here: There's a good way to put pig blood, pig flesh and pig hair into the city's water treatment plant? Yup. Well, there's a legal way.

And you know what that means, right? There's a legal way to put God-knows-what-else into the system. Should we ask for a list of stuff people put into the sewage treatment plant? Would we want to read the list? Obviously this is not a field for the faint of stomach.

We only found about this particular incident because a guy flying a remote-controlled model airplane with a camera attached to it accidentally copped a photo of the pig blood. But what does all of this tell us about the overall picture, about industrial waste, city enforcement, our shared investment in water treatment infrastructure and what's going on all over town?

I know what I think it means. It means that you and I probably could save a whole lot on taxes by raising our city taxes enough to pay for a bigger, tougher system of inspection. We need to have way more code inspectors armed with better technology, including city cars that aren't 15-year-old beaters.

We have this unquestioned mantra in Dallas that every penny a business enterprise pays in taxes and every dollar it pays in wages is money ahead for the community. But c'mon. Put a pencil to it. How much more does it cost us to build and operate sewage treatment facilities in order to clean up substances that are going into the system illegally? We shouldn't lose money on the deal by allowing people to break the law.

I am not saying Columbia broke or is breaking the law. Sounds like that question may wind up in a courtroom someday. I don't even know which side I like in that fight. The coin could flip one way or the other. But the picture here, for us citizens, is alarming either way. No matter whose fault this is, it's costing us taxpayers a whole lot of money.

Maybe the kayakers love it. They're already wearing nose clips and earplugs down there to keep the pollutants out of their orifices. Now they can add surgical masks and butcher's smocks. Whole new sport, maybe. Red-water kayaking.
Jan 24 Letter From City of Dallas to Columbia Packing CoJan 26 Statement From Columbia Packing Co


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25 comments
Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

We all know the does not take care of anything.All they do is pass one law after another with no one to enforce they I bet City cut job of people who check sewer lines,but they charge all of us sewer fee.

Mammym
Mammym

We don't drink treated waste water, we send it down the Trinity.  It would be the observant Jews and Muslims down stream that might have a problem.  But consider that WE are down stream from a lot of other municipalities and who knows waht they allow to be put in their waste water, besides lots of human waste that is.

Rooster
Rooster

I'm still having diffiuculty believing people actually kayak in that cesspool known as the Trinity River....

Pinche Derelicto
Pinche Derelicto

outfits like these and many of the same ones bitchin' about this are the same ones that complain about 'government regulations' and how we need less of it.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Nothing says “world class city” like kayaking in pug guts (or swimming in it).   I thought though that the white water rafting fiasco (that was over budget by 4 million and kills people in the bargain) was not open for the enjoyment of tourists or the citizens.

John M
John M

Add me to the "How is pig blood worse than sewage" crowd.

Marvin
Marvin

I thought the standard way to get rid of all the leftover pig parts/blood was to turn them into hot dogs.

"Everything but the squeal" as they say.

Ben
Ben

Huh. So looking through all those rules and regulations on the slaughtering of animals inside the city limits, I got to wondering why the city allows a slaughterhouse, Progreso Farms to operate on the city owned Texas Horse Park property. It looks like the Khmer Rouge or Hutu run the place with random disposal of animal parts. Whenever the lease is up, someone (the city) will have to go in and clean all that up.

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Whatever. I've heard random stories from multiple people why the city lets this go on.

Ed D.
Ed D.

Columbia Packing: move past the "who blocked the main pipe" stuff and explain to us how your emergency backup system for disposing of a torrent of pig blood is engaged for at least 41 solid days and you don't notice until the city points it out? Seriously?

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Waaaaaait a minute, just a couple of years a go the City forced every coffee shop in town to install grease traps at a cost of thousands of dollars per business. Yet, its OK for you to flush pig parts, 60-80% grease probably, down the sewer?

World class.

barrygoldwater'spetrock
barrygoldwater'spetrock

Didn't they build some type of "special filtration system" to properly dispose of all the toxic shit that flows from Dallas City Hall? If so, why not use the same for this plant?

JimS
JimS

The other possibiity, which I wasn't even going to mention until I was provoked, is that the stuff in the creek isn't from pigs at all but is the ghastly aftermath of a horrendous secret kayaking ritual of some kind. Any cats missing? 

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Dallas City Hall is NOT going to take them to court. It's not their MO unless they really want to shut them down and have them move out so that they can reconstitute the area into multi purpose development with a lot of retail, schools..... Get the sacrcasm?

What will make them sit up and take notice is if a bunch of angry black folks who live close by get mad enough along with Dwaine to carry the football for them to make some heroic changes.

They can't get Michael Sorrel as he is too busy fighting another environmental disaster in the making further south.

RTGolden
RTGolden

" Given their behavior so far on other issues, I wouldn't be surprised if they like it."

Translation: "Since they don't automatically fall in lock step with Schutze on this ONE issue, they're obviously barabaric unwashed heathens who bathe in pig blood only because bathing in human blood is frowned upon..."

Too bad Schutze, you've got a good story here, and certainly one that deserves to be splashed about quite a bit.  Unfortunately, you can't seem to refrain from using this blog as a bully pulpit.

claytonauger
claytonauger

And if the city can't regulate effectively against this kind of flagrant violation, what is it going to do when hundreds of gas wells start popping up all across town? Depend on Rick Perry's boffo environmental agency? 

Heywood U. Buzzoff
Heywood U. Buzzoff

Jim, Jim, Jim -- how are we supposed to deal with our pig blood, pig flesh and pig hair?  The plastic bag foes want to keep us from putting it in plastic bags.  And not matter how funny it is to see a five thousand dollar carbon bike sliding on hog intestines, we know not to put them in bike lanes.  The city probably won't less us put them in their dump near Paul Quinn College and the Calatrava bridge is too far away for the 'ultimate water balloon' (which also POs the plastic bag crowd again). 

And the usual trick of writing 'do not steal my lunch' on a brown paper bag filled with pig guts and leaving in the Observer lunch room fridge is not a sure thing. 

Uppercase Matt
Uppercase Matt

I'm thinking that, in view of the nasty things that are dumped into the sewer system every day, some pig blood is no big deal.

Marvin
Marvin

Another option, there must be a pork version of this pink slime.  They're flushing perfectly good food down the drain.

From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/..."McDonald's said this week that it was no longer using the controversial ground beef additive known as "pink slime" in its hamburger recipe. Taco Bell and Burger King have also reportedly repudiated the "slime," which consists of spare beef trimmings that have been treated with ammonium hydroxide to make them safe and at least semi-palatable."

"The USDA, for its part, approved of the ammoniated beef trimmings. In 2007, when it mandated increased testing for most ground beef, it specifically exempted "pink slime," even though the ammoniated beef comes from the parts of the cow most likely to harbor pathogens. The USDA argued that the beef's ammonia treatment would kill any bacteria lingering in the beef."

scottindallas
scottindallas

that's a different kind of sausage factory over there.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Don't worry, more people far and wide including City Hall read Schutze than care to admit.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Bike lanes? What bike lanes? The special pig gut resistant paint just adds to the per-mile cost.

And if you throw some parsley on it and say it's from one of City of Ate's most recent circlejerk locations you can definitely fool one of the food writers into taking the bag.

Ket
Ket

Yeah, I'm trying to think how pig blood is worse than what the system was built to handle. Is it possible that Jim doesn't know that the sanitary sewer is the pipe leading away from his house, not into it.

Tom L (No, Not That L)
Tom L (No, Not That L)

To add to this, I don't see pig blood and guts going into a sewer system -- as long as the system is built to handle it -- being that big a deal at all. I mean, come on, the system is built to handle untold tons of actual human shit every day. What are the pig guts going to do, contaminate our crap?

Anon
Anon

just tell someone in Oak Cliff it's local and soon enough there will be a shortage of the "waste"

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