An inappropriate item flushed in a bathroom at Redlight Redlight in Orlando clogged the brew pub's sewer line.
Owner Brent Hernandez got a plumber, who snaked an auger into the pipe that runs under Corrine Drive parking. From there, Hernandez recalls wondering, who knows where it goes.
It turns out that what's flushed from much of north Orlando takes a 35-mile trip through a colossal system that has been under construction for most of a century. The wastewater disperses nearly 33 days later as highly treated effluent into marsh, through the legs of wood storks and roseate spoonbills and then to an expanse of cordgrass and sable palms of the St. Johns River.
"That's crazy," Hernandez said.
He's right. No one knows where their sewage winds up. That's what wastewater operators strive for.
"We don't want people to know about what we do," said Chuck Shultz, assistant manager of Orlando wastewater. "If they do, something bad has happened."
Shultz also is right.
This year, Fort Lauderdale was shamed officially for letting its sewer perform as a sieve; the governor cracked down on "bad actors" by boosting fines for spills; a watchdog called out Orange County's wastewater system as a flagrant offender; and Orlando sounded an alert for a smelly incident at its premier cultural park. more