Mysterious, doughy, unknown blob clogs sewer

Luke says: "In Lewiston, Maine a 50-to-60-foot doughy mass is clogging a sewer line under the city's main drag, and crews have been unable to budge it and have no idea what it is!"
200801241418City crews discovered the clog earlier this month after responding to complaints of blocked sewer lines downtown. Jones said crews opened a manhole at the Bates Street intersection and saw the clog - an oozing, white blob that looks like uncooked dough.

"We've tried punching through it, but each time we do, it just oozes back over the hole," he said. "It really looks like dough."



  1. The overlapping complexities and tribulations of our civic support systems never ceases to amaze.

    Don’t through your old dough down the pipes.

  2. …You know what that looks like? A large wet glob of that cushioning liner foam they put under your carpet in most apartments. I suspect someone changed out the liner in an apartment and simply dumped it down the sewer rather than take it to the dump.

  3. A neighbor’s house made a lump of lye soap that totally clogged his drain (then ate through the bottom of the pipe) through the combination of cooking grease and Drano.

    Four foot long impenetrable plug in a pipe in their concrete slab. Ouch.

    Worse, the Drano then ate through the pipe before the plug such that drainage re-commenced, but out from under the side of the house.

  4. I recently had a problem with mold in the drain of one of my bathrooms. It was really interesting because it only collected in the undersink bits, not the wall.

    I took photos, and they are here if you are interested. It just seemed like a solid, slimy mass at first, but when broken up it looked more like canned fish.

  5. OMG! I had repeated dreams about this goo as a boy. It was pumped from industrialized factories and had a slow terror that only can be felt while in that dream-like state. I think it is a mix of toxins, waste products, and the undead. I swear not even Al Gore can save us.

  6. It looks like chunks of styrofoam, though I have no idea if it would behave like dough if it were steeped in sewage for a while.

  7. It’s a new and fearsome god forming from the toxic wastes of our civilization. All hail our new overlord as it soon joins the jellyfish in the oceans to take over our ecosystem.

  8. I live in Portland and according to the news it is a blob of “dough, grease, and rags” that they suspect were dumped by a nearby pizza parlor.

  9. They have found smaller blobs (just a few feet across) blocking pipes in the region I live. They turned out to be congealed fat people had put down the drain as hot liquids, which eventually became semi-solid hydrophobic impenetrable blob masses. Maybe something similar here?

  10. I, for one, welcome our alien blob overlords.

    A better question is: if they were able to punch through it, why not try to scoop it out? Or suck it out with a powerful vac? It seems silly to spend 40-60K on a new pipe if this goo is actually soft enough to punch through.

  11. It’s astonishing what you find down there. I’ve visited a lot of sewage treatment plants for work-related reasons and the most revolting thing I’ve seen is an endless two-foot diamater sausage of human hair that is produced during the initial removal of solids like hair, condoms, etc. prior to primary treatment.

    This doesn’t look like hair, but I thought I’d share.

  12. Potentially tampon blob. Not supposed to toss ’em down the toilet but it constantly happens and is a big problem at the waste treatment plants

  13. upon first glance, my mind conjured up the face of cthulhu out of that. then i read the headline and the story, and i’m STILL thinkin’ cthulhu… maybe an old one?? either way, YUCK!

  14. I cant help but for me it’s obvious that the so called blob came not through the sewer but from the soil above. look at the broken concrete pieces of the sewer inside the blob, as well as the shadow of the pipe on the blob. see the bigger version for detail.


  15. I cant help but for me it’s obvious that the so called blob came not through the sewer but from the soil above. look at the broken concrete pieces of the sewer inside the blob, as well as the shadow of the pipe on the blob. see the bigger version for detail.


  16. Has anyone asked around to see if a Dr. Enrique Borgos is around there anywhere? It seems like his handiwork.

    (`… where it encountered some chemical conditions which caused it to… set. Like soft plaster. Entirely blocking the main drain…’)

    (Time to find someone ‘of previous rich military experience with drains’ to sort it out.)

    (btw, when I hit Preview, no post button is visible. Is this intended?)

  17. Every male who lived in a dormitory has seen the warnings and now this is the proof:

    If you masturbate in the shower, it’s going to clog the pipes!


  18. This is clearly the work of The Tick’s archnemesis, The Breadmaster!

    “Baker of Badness, your buns are MINE!”

  19. doesn’t that look like bits of the pipe
    embedded in the front of the mass?
    (same material and apparent thickness of ceramic as pipe)

    Perhaps the pipe collapsed in that section
    and let in some kind of fungus or
    other funk from outside the pipe.

    As they dig through it it keeps flowing into the pipe?

  20. I cant believe they want to renew the pipe.

    Surely you can get a chainsaw and cut little chunks out of it?!

    Can’t be that hard…

  21. this is totally crazy! i literally live about a block and a half away from this clog and where do i find out about it? Boing Boing!!

  22. ok… so it’s a little further than a block and a half. Google maps says .4 of a mile from my house to Sam’s. But still you’d think I would have heard about this somewhere other than here.

  23. also, that pizza place has been in business since 1939. I find it totally plausible that the blockage is 60-someodd years worth of flour and pizza dough that was washed down the drain.

  24. “There’s oobleck in the bathtub, the con ain’t over yet
    It’s pleasantly disgusting and it’s thick and white and wet.
    We know hotel security would say it’s got to go
    So there’s oobleck in the bathtub,
    but no one’s ‘spose to know.”
    — Elise Matthesen, many moons ago

    It took a long time for the oobleck to get all the way from Minnesota to Maine, that’s all I have to say….

  25. There is a paper-mache compound (another brand akin to Sculptamold) similar in color to this mixture… it is grey (like laundry lint) – it can soak up a lot of water… It becomes like thick gooey clay. It will totally clog up your sink if you accidentally let any go down the drain.

    Disgruntled artist at work?

  26. Gelatinous cube. I bet there’s at least a couple of gold pieces inside. Go ahead, reach in there. You might get lucky.

    I was kinda hoping it was The Stuff.

  27. Wow…I had such a crap day, but this thread changed all that…

    #58 Talia must get the just invented 1st price for blobby banter…I’m hurting…

  28. A church is mentioned first, then a pizza place. So either this is a huge bake sale gone horribly wrong, or the pizza place routinely dumps it’s yeast, flour, and grease (rags?) down the drain. At least it’s biodegradable.

  29. 68 posts and counting. Nice to know what gets people talking. Recession? Class Warfare? Nitpicking movies? No! Alien blobs in a sewer? Storm the pizzeria and boil the dough!

    Just a casual observation about my spoiled generation. Don’t get your hate on.

  30. I think its the newest art instillation piece by Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude. I think I liked their Central Park piece better though.

  31. Doesn’t Stephen King place stories in Lewiston? This reminds me of his short story where a boys dad drinks a beer with slimey mold in it and turns into a white blob.

    First we have a dog hitting Stephen King with a minivan and now this. His books are coming to live. If I hear some idiot singing “Dig Yo Man” I’m out of here.


  32. @#68 the Other michael

    Which generation is that, Michael? I think there might be a few here…

    Decades please, none of that end-of-alphabet stuff…I honestly lost track with that…


    “congealed fat people had put down the drain as hot liquids”…

    so it’s a clogged artery writ large? Oh swoon, as above so below indeed!

    Remember: this sample does not represent your whole generation. Only the members of it who read BOINGBOING. And of other generations.

    Yeah, BoingBoinger’s might be more into odd things that look like sci-fi than politics or sociology, at least when it comes to whether or not they think their comment will be useful or funny…

  34. The terrorists are trying to block the sewers in order to spread diseases and cause an epidemic. We must ban the sale of all flour immediately! And yeast too.

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