Orem police get involved in search for ‘phantom dumper’

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OREM, Utah -- The Phantom Dumper in Orem has struck again.

There was a lull in sludge incidents over the winter holidays at the Orem Water Reclamation Treatment Center, but then on January 16th, 17th and 23rd, the dumper struck again.

“It takes a lot of work to clean the system out,” explained Orem Mayor Richard Brunst. “So one, it's fouling up the system. Two, it's costing us $3,000 a week. Three, it's taking our men from other things they should be doing at the plant.”

The mayor is fed up and frustrated. Now Orem police detectives are involved and they already have a few leads. The material was tested several times at a lab and finally it was determined to be a new insulation material.

“They are following up on a few leads,” said Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez. “They are actually interviewing some people; contractors who've bought large quantities of this insulation.”

The dumping started on June 29th, 2016 and has continued almost every week since then, sometimes twice a week.

The ongoing issue has cost the city between $90,000 and $100,000 to clean up in total. The insulation absorbs the water and becomes difficult to clean when it infiltrates the treatment center’s plant. Sometimes it layers over the water system and is two to three inches thick, according to the plant’s manager, Lawrence Burton.

There is a $2,500 reward for anyone who gives information leading to an arrest.