Flushing wipes can cause sewer blockage
By Erik Buchinger
The city of Clintonville is asking for its residents to stop flushing wipes down the toilet, no matter what the packaging of the wipes says.
Clintonville Wastewater Manager Dave Tichinel guided utility board members and city officials on a tour of the wastewater treatment plant construction in July.
“The worst thing is the disposable wipes,” Tichinel said during the tour. “Don’t flush them down the toilet. We need to get that out, and that’s something that goes into our utility bill. Those are to be disposed of in the garbage. Flushing them down the toilet will plug the pumps up faster than anything.”
The wastewater staff cleaned out the oxidation ditch recently, and there are typically large piles of wipes that the system cannot process.
Clintonville City Administrator Sharon Eveland posted to the city’s Facebook page and titled the post “No Wipes in the Pipes.”
“The pile of wipes was so large this time that the wastewater staff had to take the skid steer down there to push the wipes to where they could be sucked out,” the Facebook post stated. “These wipes could be a VERY costly problem for the City, and consequently anyone who has sewer service in the City.”
Tichinel voiced his appreciation for his staff for cleaning the ditch at the Clintonville Utility Board meeting on Monday, Aug. 7.
“I want to say kudos to my staff,” Tichinel said. “The utility board and the council got to see firsthand what’s going on at the wastewater plant, but this ditch cleaning was a lot of work, and I want to say thank you to my water and wastewater staff. It was an awesome job they did down there. We saved a lot of money by us cleaning the ditch, and it was not an easy job by any means.”
Eveland said the post was the most shared item in the history of the city’s Facebook page.
“Dave has talked to me about this being an issue in the past with wipes in those oxidation ditches,” Eveland said. “I did that in the hopes that it would be a little more visually representative of why we need people to stop flushing wipes. What the containers say are disposable are not actually disposable.”
Tichinel said the wastewater plant construction project is ahead of schedule and is on pace to be completed in December.