Five tons of dried Cary poop mysteriously burns

akenney@newsobserver.comJanuary 22, 2014 

— The town of Cary would like to know why its 5 tons of processed human waste caught fire on Wednesday.

After all, this stuff is somewhat valuable. The town of Cary doesn’t go to the trouble to strain “bio-solids” out of its sewage and dry it into tiny nuggets just so it can catch fire in a silo, like it did Wednesday.

Normally, the town of Cary would sell its population’s processed poop as “Cary Enviro Gems,” a “Class A” fertilizer of “exceptional quality,” according to the town’s website.

It turns out that Cary Enviro Gems burn pretty well, too. The mysterious fire, discovered at about 11 a.m., smoked for about four hours at the South Cary Water Reclamation Facility.

Workers evacuated as a built-in fire-suppression system pumped nitrogen dioxide into the indoor silo to smother the flames, but the stubborn fire wouldn’t be snuffed easily.

Ultimately, the Cary Fire Department shoveled five tons of smoldering “material” into a huge bin. That represents only a fraction of a percent of the 6.2 million pounds of little gems that Cary produces every year.

And, no worries, the town will simply reprocess the burned pellets, good as new.

The fire posed no public danger and didn’t smell bad, according to town spokeswoman Carrie Roman. It does not appear that the fire did any significant damage to the silo, either, but the cause remains a subject of study.

Staff writer Ron Gallagher contributed to this report.

Kenney: 919-829-4870; Twitter: @KenneyNC

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