"Flushable" Wipes Creating Expensive Problem at Local Sewage Plant

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"Flushable" Wipes Creating Expensive Problem at Local Sewage Plant. Walter Perez reports during Action News at 5pm on March 14, 2018. (WPVI)

The wastewater treatment facility in Pottstown has a problem, and it's a problem that is growing and becoming increasingly expensive.

The issue? Those so-called "flushable" wipes.

Karen Owens, the Assistant Superintendent at the Pottstown Wastewater Facility says, "They are coming into the facility and they are clogging up pumps, and our screens, and just causing troubles."

Owens says the township is being forced to allocate too many resources into fishing-out wipes from the system before they create potentially disastrous back-ups.

She says, "We have estimated that it costs maybe $100,000-$120,000 over the last year in different wipe-related clogs and damages to our plant and to the sewer lines."

Apparently, while those products are labeled "flushable," many brands do not disintegrate before reaching sewage facilities.

In fact, this is a growing problem at wastewater plants across the country, not to mention thousands of homes and businesses that have experienced problems with clogged plumbing linked to "flushable" wipe disposal.
All of this has resulted in lawsuits against flushable wipe manufacturers, and public service announcements across the country urging people to stop flushing those items down the toilet or stop using them altogether.

Karen Owens offers the third option.

"If it is for wiping your hand or something very simple or somewhat clean then I would just throw in the trash and not flush it down the drain."

Meanwhile, Pottstown has applied for a $500,000 grant to upgrade their facility to better process "flushable" wipes.

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healthpennsylvania newsPottstown Borough
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