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Cornell carcass digester spills into Ithaca sewers, manufacturing error to blame
Ithaca, N.Y. - An accidental discharge of 1,600 gallons from Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine carcass digester Dec. 10-11 has been attributed to a programming error.
Ithaca, N.Y. — An accidental discharge of 1,600 gallons from Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine carcass digester Dec. 10-11 has been attributed to a programming error.
The spill initially was blamed on the college for failing to have an operator present at the digester, but a inquiry revealed that the spill actually was caused by programming problems traced back to the digester's manufacturer, according to college officials.
The amount of hydrolysate effluent—a brine-like fluid from the chemical digestion of animal remains—that spilled into Ithaca's sewer system when the discharge occurred was diluted with about 90,000 gallons of potable water, with the bulk of the effluent remaining in the digester, the school says.
The digester is new to the college, Cornell adds, saying it is an environmentally friendly alternative to the incinerator it replaced last spring.
New protocols already have been implemented following a review by Cornell and the digester's manufacturer to prevent future spills, according to the college.