Friday, December 30, 2016

Wet Wipes Becoming The Scourge Of A Sewer Near You

Are wet wipes like this clogging up
sewer systems around the world? 
I'm afraid we're going to have to talk about poop here.

Specifically, cleaning up after poop.

Most of us (I hope!) have used toilet paper. It gets the job done, it goes away with a flush of a toilet and we can just forget about that unpleasantness when we're finished.

But the consumer products industry, ever anxious to sucker us into buying some grand new doodad, has come up in recent years with an "improvement" over toilet paper.

It's wet wipes, and it's supposed to leave you feeling cleaner, fresher, more comfortable after you're done going.

Well, maybe.

But your local Sewage Treatment Workers of America guys and gals are NOT thrilled by this wonderful new product.

Neither should you, especially if you have your own on site septic system, like I do.

You see, after you flush the toilet, the toilet paper in its journey toward your nearest septic system or municipal sewage treatment plant, breaks apart pretty fast.

Through the magic of sewage systems, the toilet paper disappears, and life goes on just swimmingly. Especially if you dare to take swimmingly literally by taking a cool dip in the waters downstream from the sewage treatment plant.

Wet wipes, though, despite the protestations of bathroom marketers like Kimberly Clark, don't break down.

According to The Atlantic, the town of Wyoming,  Minnesota was among the first to sue consumer products giants like Kimberly Clark, Proctor & Gamble, Nice-Pak and others.

The Atlantic interviewed Dave Torma, a public works emplouee in Wyoming, Minnesota and got this

"After wet wipes are flushed, they exit a house through a lateral pipe that connects to a public sewer system, where sewage pumps ensure that the wastewater flows in the correct direction. 

But unlike toilet paper, wet wipes fail to disintegrate. They clog the pumps, causing them to break down and redirect stagnant wastewater back toward houses. Sewer systems must be shut down so that the wipes can be manually removed. When the four-foot pumps are lifted for maintenance, 'it looks like you're pulling up Cousin Itt,' Torma said. 

The toilet paper industry is claiming the wipes they sell do disintegrate and the problems wastewater managers are facing are due to people flushing other, non-disintegrating material down toilets

The Halifax, Canada, water department actually put out a rather entertaining video that does a great job of describing the wet wipes problem. It's worth a watch.

Here's the video. Warning: There is a segment within where you don't want to be eating, or have a sensitive stomach while watching.


No comments:

Post a Comment