Public Works Director Mike Hansen explained at the Tuesday, June 9, council meeting that the three blockages appear to have been caused by sanitary wipes, either those used in the bathroom or those used for sanitizing surfaces in the household. Hansen said the city may be able to submit one of the issues to insurance for reimbursement.
This is not the first time Hansen has reported blockages that may have been related to so-called “flushable wipes,” which have been connected to expensive private and public sewer repairs across the country. Wipe manufacturers argue that blockages are primarily caused by wipes that are not meant to be flushed, such as sanitary wipes that have become popular in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, many sewer professionals disagree. In either case, many cities have been asking that residents not flush sanitary wipes, whether labeled flushable or not, to avoid expensive sewer projects and sewer backups, both of which can impact city taxes.
Hansen said the city is looking to borrow a camera to check the condition of several of the city's sewer mains for additional issues.