Nasty Treatment Plant swimmers

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    I encountered an unusual critter in a Type III treatment plant. Some history: This is a small 30 seat cafe. System is about 6 years old. The treatment plant suffered from severe groundwater intrusion during the first 2 years of use. We were called in to remedy a persistent High Alarm problem. We repaired the leaks quite well I must say. A year later the system was again compromised by a major grease invasion from a malfunctioning and poorly placed undersink grease catchment device. We pumped and pressure washed all tanks thoroughly with a Hot Water Pressure washing system. We flushed all laterals completely.  Less than 6 months later we noticed some unusual sub surface movements in the treatment plant when we had it shut down for regular maintenance. Closer inspection and a short video revealed a gazillion little swimmers. These creatures looked quite ugly and moved like a herring school. We also noted that the pump chamber was building up a high sludge level of the dead bodies of this critter. They could not survive the Utra violet rays. In less than 6 months we recorded up to 48″ of sludge in the treatment plant and up to 18″ of sludge in the pump chamber, the UV housing was clogged, all from dead bodies of this critter.

    As near as we can guess, from various inquiries to VIHA, other professionals, and our own internet inquiries, we have a critter known as “Cyclops”. This critter is found mainly in ponds and marshes. It seems to have found a perfect environment in this treatment plant for survival. Excellent conditions, and absolutely no predators, other than UV, and shear numbers prevailed. They have thwarted the UV. They have a short life span. They live, procreate, and die; and clogged up this treatment system. They can be controled using Clorine and/or elevating temperatures of the environment to above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

    I wanted t share this, and ask anyone if they have ever encountered any such problems. It certainly is a mind boggling situation for a regular maintenance dude. Incidentally, I approached the labs who do our septic sampling tests. They had no idea what we were dealing with, and they had no suggestions as to who we could turn to.

    I am hoping for any and all thoughts, ideas, and suggestions.

    Garth Millan


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