Sewer Surprise: County workers discover reptile at Chambers Creek Wastewater Plant

Operators at Chambers Creek Wastewater Plant find a lot of surprises during their sewer system work. But a four-and-one-half foot-long snake captured everyone’s attention, especially Jason Robinson’s.

The wastewater maintenance specialist/mechanic was performing a monthly lubrication Oct. 13 at the plant’s headworks. When he opened the cover of a screening device, he saw the snake but thought it was fake. He touched it with his radio’s antenna to make sure and flicked its tail to see what the rear end looked like.


“The snake awoke and stood up, assumed the strike position and began watching everyone closely,” says Robinson. Robinson carefully moved away from what was later determined to be a white Corn Snake. Supervisor Scott Roth arrived and walked up to get a look, and the snake struck at him.

“It made him jump a little, and everyone backed off a bit after that,” said Chief Plant Operator Steve Hanenburg.

Other employees began showing up to examine the snake and take photos. The snake was removed with a rake and placed in a bucket. The reptile subsequently was turned over to Animal Control.

“I’ve seen many things come into wastewater treatment plants during the past 33 years, but this was a first,” Hanenburg said.

An Internet search found that corn snakes make docile pets and are an ideal first-reptile purchase. They are highly variable in color and pattern. They can be found in wooded groves and meadows, on rocky hillsides, along waterways and in urban habitats such as wooded lots, barn yards or abandoned houses.