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#8094939 - 09/23/13 06:44 AM Don't flush your wipes
Rock Chuck Online   content
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 01/05/06
Posts: 26202
Loc: Filer, ID
Seems that those 'flushable' wipes aren't. They're clogging city sewer equipment and causing millions in damage. I'm assuming that they'd be even worse in a home septic system.

Popular bathroom wipes blamed for clogs, backups in sewers across US
Published September 23, 2013
Associated Press

BEMUS POINT, N.Y. Increasingly popular bathroom wipes pre-moistened towelettes that are often advertised as flushable are being blamed for creating clogs and backups in sewer systems around the nation.

Wastewater authorities say wipes may go down the toilet, but even many labeled flushable aren't breaking down as they course through the sewer system. That's costing some municipalities millions of dollars to dispatch crews to unclog pipes and pumps and to replace and upgrade machinery.

The problem got so bad in this western New York community this summer that sewer officials set up traps basket strainers in sections of pipe leading to an oft-clogged pump to figure out which households the wipes were coming from. They mailed letters and then pleaded in person for residents to stop flushing them.

"We could walk right up, knock on the door and say, 'Listen, this problem is coming right from your house,'" said Tom Walsh, senior project coordinator at South & Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer Districts, which was dispatching crews at least once a week to clear a grinder pump that would seize up trying to shred the fibrous wipes.

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies, which represents 300 wastewater agencies, says it has been hearing complaints about wipes from sewer systems big and small for about the last four years.

That roughly coincides with the ramped-up marketing of the "flushable cleansing cloths" as a cleaner, fresher option than dry toilet paper alone. A trade group says wipes are a $6 billion-a-year industry, with sales of consumer wipes increasing nearly 5 percent a year since 2007 and expected to grow at a rate of 6 percent annually for the next five years.

One popular brand, Cottonelle, has a campaign called "Let's talk about your bum" and ads showing people trying to wash their hair with no water. It ends with the tagline: "You can't clean your hair without water, so why clean your bum that way?"

Manufacturers insist wipes labeled flushable aren't the problem, pointing instead to baby and other cleaning wipes marked as nonflushable that are often being used by adults.

"My team regularly goes sewer diving" to analyze what's causing problems, said Trina McCormick, a senior manager at Kimberly-Clark Corp., maker of Cottonelle. "We've seen the majority, 90 percent in fact, are items that are not supposed to be flushed, like paper towels, feminine products or baby wipes."

Wastewater officials agree that wipes, many of which are made from plastic, aren't the only culprits but say their problems have escalated with the wipes market.

Vancouver, Wash., sewer officials say wipes labeled as flushable are a big part of a problem that has caused that city to spend more than $1 million in the last five years replacing three large sewage pumps and eight smaller ones that were routinely clogging.

To prove their point, they dyed several kinds of wipes and sent them through the sewer for a mile to see how they would break up. They didn't.

Those labeled flushable, engineer Frank Dick said, had "a little rips and tears but still they were intact."

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, which serves Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland, has also spent more than $1 million over five years installing heavy-duty grinders, while the Orange County, Calif., Sanitation District, in a single year recorded 971 "de-ragging" maintenance calls on 10 pump stations at a cost of $320,000.

Clogging problems in Waukesha, Wis., prompted the sewer authority there to create a "Keep Wipes out of Pipes" flier. And Ocean City, Md., and Sitka, Alaska, are among cities that have also publicly asked residents not to flush wipes, regardless of whether they are labeled flushable.

The problem got worldwide attention in July when London sewer officials reported removing a 15-ton "bus-sized lump" of wrongly flushed grease and wet wipes, dubbed the "fatberg."

The complaints have prompted a renewed look at solving the problem.

The Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, the trade group known as INDA, recently revised voluntary guidelines and specified seven tests for manufacturers to use to determine which wipes to call flushable. It also recommends a universal do-not-flush logo a crossed-out stick figure and toilet be prominently displayed on non-dispersible products.

The wastewater industry would prefer mandatory guidelines and a say in what's included but supports the INDA initiatives as a start. Three major wastewater associations issued a joint statement with INDA last week to signal a desire to reach a consensus on flushability standards.

"If I'm doing the test, I'm going to throw a wipe in a bucket of water and say it has to disintegrate," said Rob Villee, executive director of the Plainfield Area Regional Sewage Authority in New Jersey.

Nicholas Arhontes, director of facilities support services in Orange County, Calif., has an even simpler rule for what should go down the toilet.

"Only flush pee, poop and toilet paper," he said, "because those are the only things that sanitary sewers were really designed for in the old days."
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#8094941 - 09/23/13 06:46 AM Re: Don't flush your wipes [Re: Rock Chuck]
deflave Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 08/16/07
Posts: 36437
Loc: Havre, Montana
Don't flush the white mice either.



Travis

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#8094951 - 09/23/13 06:51 AM Re: Don't flush your wipes [Re: deflave]
ringworm Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 10/01/08
Posts: 8822
Loc: Southern States
Womens colleges are the worst.
I have a buddy who heads maint. at Converse. He says they flush tampons, panties, condoms, gold fish, paper plates, Ramen noodle wrappers...Any fking thing.
Women are fking brain dead.
My MIL would put oyster shells in the garbage disposal if someone didnt stop her.
I'm on a septic tank, so in my house, I dont allow anything other that chit, piss and TP through the pipes.

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#8095021 - 09/23/13 07:23 AM Re: Don't flush your wipes [Re: ringworm]
Steve Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 7681
Loc: Hillsboro, Or-Y-Gun (Oregon), ...
<--- Guilty of flushing dental floss.
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#8095024 - 09/23/13 07:25 AM Re: Don't flush your wipes [Re: ringworm]
bruinruin Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 03/19/06
Posts: 12555
Loc: Tip of the Mitten
Originally Posted By: ringworm

Women are fking brain dead.
My MIL would put oyster shells in the garbage disposal if someone didnt stop her.


My MIL is just as bad and my wife isn't far behind. A few years ago my wife and MIL were cleaning strawberries. Cutting off the stems, leaves and bad spots and throwing the junk into a big colander. When it was full, my MIL upended the whole thing into the sink and reached for the disposal switch. I caught her before anything made it down the drain and she gavee a look like I was the biggest POS on Earth.

What fugging ignorance, dumping all that down a drain and not giving it a second thought. In fairness, the trash can was 8 feet away, so I can understand the hardship she faced.

I still have to fight the battle of the disposal now and then, threatening to remove it if she keeps it up.
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4 out of 5 Great Lakes prefer Michigan. smile

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#8095052 - 09/23/13 07:37 AM Re: Don't flush your wipes [Re: Rock Chuck]
rost495 Online   content
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 34742
Loc: La Grange, TX
toilet paper shoudl go in the trash ALWAYS. IMHO. Nothing but liquids and poop... regardless.

We've pulled panties, toys etc.. out of our lift stations, hung up in our impellers in the pumps...
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#8095062 - 09/23/13 07:39 AM Re: Don't flush your wipes [Re: ringworm]
rost495 Online   content
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 34742
Loc: La Grange, TX
Originally Posted By: ringworm
Womens colleges are the worst.
I have a buddy who heads maint. at Converse. He says they flush tampons, panties, condoms, gold fish, paper plates, Ramen noodle wrappers...Any fking thing.
Women are fking brain dead.
My MIL would put oyster shells in the garbage disposal if someone didnt stop her.
I'm on a septic tank, so in my house, I dont allow anything other that chit, piss and TP through the pipes.

some women are brain dead. My wife grew up in the country on a septic system and knows better from little on that not even TP is good for a system....not all women are dumb.

What typically causes us the worst grief is mexican cooking, they use SO much grease, it clogs up the lift stations. Its horrible and amazing at the same time.
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May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields and, Until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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#8095082 - 09/23/13 07:45 AM Re: Don't flush your wipes [Re: rost495]
Rock Chuck Online   content
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 01/05/06
Posts: 26202
Loc: Filer, ID
For a septic, buy the cheapest tp you can find, the stuff that falls apart. Avoid the expensive extra soft stuff as its much harder to break down
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TODAY IS THE OLDEST YOU'VE EVER BEEN, YET THE YOUNGEST YOU'LL EVER BE, SO ENJOY THIS DAY WHILE IT LASTS.

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#8095092 - 09/23/13 07:48 AM Re: Don't flush your wipes [Re: Rock Chuck]
Mannlicher Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 44654
Loc: N. Central Florida, and Miami
see, if every home in America had a bidet like my Condo does, this would be a non issue. laugh
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I named my Dog..........wait for it.........Muhammad laugh

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#8095094 - 09/23/13 07:49 AM Re: Don't flush your wipes [Re: Rock Chuck]
rost495 Online   content
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 34742
Loc: La Grange, TX
Originally Posted By: Rock Chuck
For a septic, buy the cheapest tp you can find, the stuff that falls apart. Avoid the expensive extra soft stuff as its much harder to break down


Whats wrong with a trash can? I've never figured that out?
_________________________
May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields and, Until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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