Thatcher cleanses wastewater plant with fire

Contributed File Photo/Courtesy Chip Griffin: This photo from the 2015 burning shows how the operation is done. Thatcher performed its annual wastewater treatment facility reed burning Wednesday morning.

This video taken by Chip Griffin in 2015 shows how the reed burning operation takes place. Video courtesy Chip Griffin

By Jon Johnson

THATCHER – Red, hot flames consumed everything in sight. A thick, black, ominous cloud slowly lurched from the burning pyre and made its way west, on its way to choke the residents of Pima.

No, it wasn’t the end of times Wednesday morning, it was just the annual cleansing of the Thatcher wastewater plant facility by burning the plant’s reeds.

Thatcher utilizes a reed bed sewage treatment system that needs to be burned every year. At other times, the area serves as a wetlands for migrating birds.

This year, the burning went off without a hitch on a calm day. By 10:30 a.m., the operation was complete and the smoke had dissipated.

Contributed File Photo/Courtesy Chip Griffin: This picture from the 2016 burning shows the smoke headed westward.

Slide show pictures were taken by Chip Griffin during the 2016 burning.