Orem offers $2,500 reward in case of ‘phantom dumper’

OREM, Utah -- The City of Orem is offering a $2,500 reward for someone to turn in the "phantom dumper", AKA the person who is polluting the city's water treatment center with a mysterious material.

"We are seeing a lot of it, and at times our a clarifier can be covered with it two or three inches thick," said Orem Water Treatment Manager Lawrence Burton.

His four clarifying machines are 85-feet in diameter.

Burton said every week for about three to four months the mysterious substance has shown up. New lab results show the substance is a natural fibrous substance like refined wood. It is not a cloth material like an earlier lab test result had suggested.

The mayor has posted a video in the city's website discussing the urgent need to find out who is dumping the material into the sewage lines and how to stop them.

Burton said each time they have to clean the substances out it costs them about $3,300, and the weekly project takes time away from regular maintenance.

"That’s an extra expense, we got big trucks that cost a quarter of a million dollars, and we take them off what they are normally doing and they have to come and spend a few hours here, two, four, six, sometimes eight hours," Burton said.

Burton has also been aggressive and put sample machines in a few pipelines to test the water often, and if the city gets a hit from one of those samples it can narrow down where the flow is coming from.

The city's website includes a way to report the "phantom dumper."