Flushed wipes ‘wreaking havoc’ on pipes, pump stations

Apr 16, 2021

By: Nick Mordowanec | Metro | Published April 15, 2021


METRO DETROIT — Not all wipes are disposable, even if packages claim otherwise.

That is the message being relayed by Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller and Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash, both of whom recently cautioned that disposable wipe use has increased during the pandemic and is “wreaking havoc” on sewer pipes and pump stations.

That includes wipes claimed by companies to be “flushable” and “biodegradable.”

“In early 2018, approximately 70 tons of debris that had accumulated over a period of three years was removed from the Northeast Sewage Pumping Station in Detroit,” Miller said in a statement. “Three years later, a crew that recently completed a cleaning removed approximately 270 tons of debris. That’s a huge — and troubling — increase.

“It’s unfortunate that people continue to flush these wipes. It is causing more problems and more expense for every sewer system,” Miller said. “Throw them in the garbage after use. Do not flush them down the toilet.”

Nash said the flushed wipes form clumps that develop into hard masses, creating blockages in sewer pipes. He said an “uptick of issues” has been experienced at the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor sewer and pumping station.

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