$10,000 clog: flushing wet wipes can wreak havoc on city pipes

Mar 4, 2020

OPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — For many people, using wet wipes is a fast and easy way to get clean; however, the Topeka Water Pollution Center said it is also a fast and easy way to spend thousands of dollars fixing the blockage they can create.

In Utah, the issue has become large enough for legislators to ask for a state wide education campaign, and one Utah pump station was charged $10,000 for the fix. The Topeka Water Pollution Center said they are seeing the same problem.

Topeka Utilities Collection System section manager, Darrin Coffland, said the Topeka Utilities Department manages more than two thousand miles of infrastructure. Therefore, the problem can happen more often than you think.

When a wet wipe is flushed, it gets caught or clogged in the pipe.

“As a whole, they do cause us problems in the infrastructure,” Coffland explained. “We have piping systems thorughout the city and county and there are imperfections in the pipe. Those products being introduced as waste into those lines can get hung up on those imperfections. It’s not just the pipe its the roots. In doing so, it builds up over time and creates blockage in the system.”

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