SAM warns: wipes clog pipes

Aug 3, 2020

Coastside sewer officials are warning again that those disinfectant wipes — ubiquitous in the time of COVID-19 — may be wonderful for cleaning your home but they are terrible for your pipes.

At least twice in the last week, Sewer Authority Mid-Coastside crews scrambled to resolve a clog caused the wipes. On July 27, crews worked to contain a wastewater overflow on Spruce Street. On July 29, a crew near the intersection of Correas Street and Ocean Avenue discovered a “manhole was surcharged and almost 50 percent up the barrel.” That means another overflow was imminent, explained Kishen Prathivadi, general manager for SAM.

Prathivadi said clogs caused by the wipes began with shelter-in-place orders in March and have been a problem ever since. In response, he’s had crews intensify their regular checks of “hotspots” — areas that are already prone to backing up — and continued to flush manholes like clockwork.

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