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Don't flush that wipe!

Cities find “flushable” wipes aren’t, and are costing taxpayers money


Last updated 3/18/2015 at 10:56am

The things people flush down their toilets is giving Grand Coulee’s wastewater treatment staff fits.

And it isn’t just Grand Coulee that is having this problem.

Councilmember David Tylor brought the problem up at a recent council meeting and stated that the city needs to find a way to get people to stop putting handy wipes, toys, articles of clothing and other things into their toilets and then flushing them down.

City Clerk Carol Boyce explained that the handy wipes are probably the worst thing placed in toilets.

Gary Abbott, of the wastewater treatment staff, confirmed the problem.

“The worst thing is the flushable wipes, they create most of the problems.” The flushable wipes collect and can either plug the sewer up or cause a lot of extra work.

“The crew has to collect the material, dry it, bag it, and haul it to the landfill,” Abbott said.

“We haul tons of the stuff to the landfill every year,” Abbott said.

A recent sewer plug on the north side of town was caused primarily by flushable wipes, a city staff stated.

Boyce passed along a story in the New York Times that was titled: “Wet wipes box says flush, Ne Zork’s sewer system says don.t.”

The story went on to say that it costs NYC millions every year because of the damage done to sewer equipment.

“Removal is an unpleasant task. The dank clusters, graying and impenetrable, gain mass like demon snowballs as they travel, Pumps clog. Gears falter,” the article states.

Wet wipes, which do not disintegrate the way traditional toilet paper does, have plagued Hawaii, Alaska, Wisconsin and California.

The problem is costing the city of Grand Coulee money, and the city is perplexed to find a way to correct it.


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