In the April issue of the California Water Environment Association’s magazine, JWC’s Alec Mackie describes some of the challenges and solutions available to sewer professionals facing out-of-control problems with rags, wipes and other debris people are flushing into the sewers…
They sound like punch lines for late night comedians – fatbergs, polar bears, soccer balls, muffins and beach whistles – but to wastewater professionals the wipes clogging pumps and pipes are no laughing matter.
Untangling sewer pumps and valves from the tightly wound-up mess of wipes and rags is a dirty and dangerous task for CWEA members. And the frequency of sewers clogging with wipes is rising fast, in the worst cases some pump stations clog every day. We need to eliminate pump ragging and I believe we can. Our members are entering dangerous confined spaces and tearing apart pumps to remove balls of wipes and rags that contain disease and hypodermic needles.
Five years after problems first started surfacing with these new types of wipes are we any closer to a solution? Can we bring an end to the dirty and dangerous task of constantly deragging sewer pumps?
I think we can and we need to hurry up, before a hard working sewer professional gets hurt unclogging a pump.