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Flushable Wipes Damaging Berea’s Wastewater Collection System

May 23, 2024


The Berea City Council approved an emergency measure Tuesday to spend $120,000 to repair and replace sewer pumps that were damaged by flushable wipes.

Berea Municipal Utilities (BMU) Director Kevin Howard told officials the problem arose about a month ago when a pump at the Walnut Meadow Station was clogged by the wipes, requiring approximately $34,000 for repairs. Howard said the facility needs at least two working pumps at the given time to handle the flow of wastewater.

Currently only one of three pumps at the site is in operation as of Tuesday after a second pump at the facility failed because of clogging due to flushable wipes. The lead time to acquire parts to fix the existing pumps is between five and six weeks, and BMU is ordering a new pump at a cost of approximately $52,000, Howard told officials.

Howard said the city hopes to educate the public about the damage flushable wipes can do to the city’s waste water collection system. When Councilman Jim Davis asked if the city can ban flushable wipes to prevent future clogs and repair costs, Howard replied:

“We’ve got to do a public outreach on this. I don’t know if we could ban those, but we’ve got to educate the public that just because it’s [marketed as] flushable doesn’t mean that it’s treatable,” Howard said.

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