More than 7,000 gallons of concentrated Mountain Dew syrup was spilled when a tank ruptured at a Pepsi bottling plant in Howell, Michigan, last month, and a Michigan Departmet of Environmental Quality (DEQ) said Pepsi did not follow proper procedures following the spill.
When the tank ruptured, the syrup went through a floor drain and into the plant’s internal sewer system. Pepsi attempted to treat the problem internally for two days, before the syrup combined with water already in the sewage tank and created a “huge foaming event,” at which point Pepsi contacted the DEQ, writes Fox News.
DEQ senior environmental quality analyst Carla Davidson said that what Pepsi should have done was to isolate the spill in an equalization basin, then have that wastewater hauled away to “protect the integrity of their pretreatment system,” according to the Livingston Daily.
The foaming event sent about 56,000 gallons of sewage out of the system, where most of it was contained in an on-site storm water detention basis. Some, however, went into a ditch where Pepsi attempted to contain it by building an earthen dam.
In addition to calling in the DEQ, Pepsi also brought in an environmental contractor. Despite the opinion by Davidson, city officials say the event was handled appropriately and that Pepsi used proper procedures following the spill. No material got into the public spill system.
A PepsiCo spokesperson told the Livingston Daily that being good stewards of the environment is one of the company’s highest priorities. “When this event occurred we immediately took action to mitigate the impact, and we continue to work collaboratively with our neighbors and local agencies to ensure that our clean-up efforts are in compliance with all applicable regulations and meet our company’s high environmental standards,” she said.
While Davidson is concerned about why the tank ruptured, and wonders whether others could follow suit, she said she will be working with Pepsi to ensure that discharges like this don’t happen in the future.