Colorado wastewater managers are grappling with a “wipes crisis” that leaves pipes in crappy shape

Sep 12, 2019

KEYSTONE — The congealed blobs of stinking disposable wipes pulled from sewage pump stations across the country, those are called “Cousin Its.” When there are hypodermic needles in the system-jamming clogs, those are called “Porcupines.”

“Whoever has to deal with these is typically the lowest guy on the totem pole,” says Dave Barkey as he clicks through a slide show of grimacing wastewater-treatment workers hoisting black gobs of soggy wipes.

Barkey sells wipe-churning grinders to sewer plants and on Monday he gave a presentation titled “Wiping Out the Wipes Crisis” at the Rocky Mountain Water Conference in Keystone. Hosted by the Rocky Mountain American Water Works Association and Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association, the conference drew more than 900 attendees for a regional rally of municipal utility managers eager to learn the latest technologies and processes for treating water and wastewater. 

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