Augusta Utilities crews have been busier than usual during the coronavirus pandemic clearing up sewage pumping stations full of wipes, masks, gloves and other things people flush down the toilet.
Before the pandemic, crews would clear pumps about once a week, but now the job is being done at least three times weekly. Wipes have always been a problem for the department, but now masks and gloves are also being found clogging pumps.
Leadra Collins, an Augusta Utilities public information Officer and education specialist, said people tend to throw their personal protective equipment on the ground and rain sweeps it down into drains.
“We have to come and pull and do some maintenance in order to keep it clear, so that down the road, we don’t have to do other type of maintenance,” Collins said. “Typically we would pull maybe once a week but because of the pandemic, we are pulling two to three times a week now.”