This article originally appeared on VICE Indonesia.
Shit happens, and it really happened to the Jakarta neighbourhood of Cipayung. On March 8, a 6,000-litre septic tank service truck exploded spontaneously while parked, splattering poop over dozens of houses.
“[The sewage truck] had been driving around, and when the tank was opened, the contents exploded,” head of the neighbourhood council Munjul Sumarjono told local media.
The truck belonged to a resident of the neighbourhood who runs a septic tank cleaning business from his home, an occupation that his neighbours have not warmed up to.
“This has happened for the umpteenth time. The same thing happened a few years ago. We cannot stand the smell,” a resident named Nurhayati, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told CNN Indonesia.
She also complained that when her neighbour cleans the sewage truck, the runoff water makes the gutters smelly.
Sumarjono said the owner of the truck took it upon himself to clean up the mess, rejecting help extended by the local fire department.
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Following the explosion, residents attempted to evict the business from their neighbourhood, but neighbourhood officials are trying to mediate the conflict by holding a neighbourhood forum.
In November 2019, a septic tank explosion killed a 44-year-old sewage worker when he lit a flame to see if the tank had been fully emptied. Since gas can accumulate in septic tanks, they are explosion hazards.