Where do airplanes dump their waste?
A Long Island couple says they were pelted with waste from the lavatory of an airplane passing overhead last Thursday. At first the husband identified the blackish-green liquid as oil, but he says a police officer on the scene disagreed, saying, “Yeah, it looks like there was an incident …. Some lavatory excrement had leaked out.”
Airliner toilets use either a “closed waste system,” which works much like a common house toilet and flushes the wastewater into an onboard sewage tank, or the more modern “vacuum waste system,” which sucks wastewater into the tank.
Under normal circumstances, the ground crew disposes of the sewage after the plane lands. Even if the pilot and flight attendants wanted to empty a tank midflight, they couldn’t, as the valve is located on the outside of the plane, and can only be opened by the ground crew.
The Federal Aviation Administration says that some falling blue waste might be nothing more than tinted excrement from a migratory bird that happened to have eaten a blue-colored fruit.
Tip: Matt Crowley (@matthetube) via Twitter
The odds of waste leaking out of an airplane in flight are incredibly small. Yet, it is looks like it happened here. That’s quite hazardous, not to mention rude. It is an easy test to find out if the substance is of human origin and the plane should be identified. Hopefully it was fixed!
Weird rain of all sorts has fallen from the skies throughout history. This topic is considered “Fortean” – rare and without a straightforward scientific explanation.