What the Settlement Between FTC and Nice-Pak Means for Wipes

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FTC Seal

Advertising Claims Must Be Substantiated

The California Water Environment Association recently reported on the agreed settlement between FTC and Nice-Pak regarding flushable wipes labeling. According to the article and the official FTC website, Nice-Pak has agreed to stop advertising moist toilet tissue as flushable unless it can substantiate that the product is safe to flush. Jessica Rich, the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said the following in regard to the suit:

“The evidence didn’t back up Nice-Pak’s claim that their wipes were safe to flush. If you claim a product is flushable, it needs to flush in the real world, without clogging household plumbing or sewer and septic systems.”

The question of whether this will positively impact utilities remains to be seen, and some experts think it will make little difference. According to a recent blog post from the NACWA, the only thing that’s really going to make a difference here is a substantial change in consumer behavior:

“Too many people are flushing baby wipes and other types of wipes that are super strong and not designed to break down at all in a sewer system. This problem can only be solved with better product labeling and consumer education.”

We agree with the NACWA, and believe product labeling and consumer education are key elements in the fight against wipes. However, the third piece to solving this wipes crisis lies in utilizing technology that fully breaks down this tough material in the waste stream, before it can reach pumps.

To learn more, read our three-part series on how the industry can fully combat flushables.

TPO Magazine Features Cost Saving Channel Monster at California Resource Recovery Plant

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Rancho Santa Margarita CA

The upgraded Channel Monster now efficiently processes rags, wipes and other debris to protect the headworks pumps.

Grinder Eliminates Wipes Problem

The magazine TPO (Treatment Plant Operator) has a great problem/solution story in their November issue about our Channel Monster sewer grinder installed at a Southern California resource recovery facility. The grinder helps the facility trim its electrical bill by $78,000 per year by making the pumps far more efficient.

Problem: In 2012, the Santa Margarita Water District in California saw a change in the influent at its reclaimed water facility. Disposable wipes were degrading pump performance, requiring all four pumps to run continuously, instead of cycling two pumps at a time. When the pumps could no longer keep up, the plant staff had to derag them by hand, forcing a plant shutdown about every four weeks for two hours and exposing workers to potential injuries from sharps in the rag balls. The labor and the loss of an acre-foot of reclaimed water per month cost $15,000 per year.

Solution: The facility upgraded its Channel Monster from JWC Environmental to a new perforated drum configuration designed to combat wipes and other materials. The upgraded drums are made of durable perforated metal that better traps wipes and forces them into the cutter stack, essentially eliminating clogs.

Result: Since the upgrade, the district has had zero pump clogging issues and has returned to using two pumps at a time. Energy costs decreased by $78,000 per year and manual pump clean-out was eliminated.

To request engineering drawings or flow rates on a Channel Monster, please use our engineering data request >

Sewer rag ball

The new Channel Monster has completely prevented these giant rag balls that were clogging the sewer pumps.

Trash in Sewers Costing English Water Companies $100M a Year to Remove

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Water & Waste Treatment magazine reports the Consumer Council for Water has released a report showing water companies in England and Wales are spending about $109 million (70 million GBP) to clear more than 300,000 blockages. The group is encouraging people to think about what they flush down the toilet.

CCWater represents business and residential water customers and is warning customers if they don’t bin the trash and continue to flush it down the toilet – sewer rates will rise. They interviewed each of the water companies to see how many blockages they’ve experienced from grease and debris, as well as asked them about the strangest item they’ve removed from the sewers.

According to Steve Grebby, policy manager at CCWater:

Seeing your home flooded as a result of a blocked sewer or drain can be devastating. But the good news is we can all play a part in reducing the risk of this happening by thinking more carefully about what we pour down the sink or flush down the toilet.

The CCWater group has started a campaign called ‘Let’s Beat the Block‘ to encourage Brits not to flush these items down the loo…

  • ONLY FLUSH – pee, poo and toilet paper down your loo.
  • DON’T FLUSH – other items including wet wipes or nappy wipes; nappies and pads; cotton buds; tissues; plastic bags and wrappers; sanitary towels; plasters and chewing gum. Bag them and bin them instead.
  • DON’T POUR – cooking fats, oils and greases down the sink or drain. Instead KEEP A FAT TRAP or container in the kitchen to collect waste fats, oils and grease. Many water companies will provide you with a free fat trap.
  • DO ALLOW – small amounts of fats, oils and grease to cool and scrape them into a container or newspaper before binning them

 

Continue reading the report at CCWater’s site >

 

Sept 9th – Dr. Oz Talked Flushable Wipes on His National Talk Show

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bone crusher, meat grinder video

Dr. Oz talked about flushable wipes during his Tuesday, September 9 talk show. He took a tour of a New York City wastewater treatment plant and saw the problem of clogged sewer systems up close. He warned people to look before they flush – those wipes might not be as flushable as you think.

NACWA’s Cynthia Finley was also one of Dr. Oz’s guests and described the importance of only flushing the 3Ps – pee, poo and toilet paper. Toilets are not trash cans Ms. Finley reminded the audience.

Dr. Oz recommended using a spray bottle on toilet paper to create a wet wipe. Or perhaps the new Wipe Aide toilet paper moistener?

Is Dr. Oz changing his habits when it comes to using flushable wipes? Seems like he might be switching back to T.P. after Tuesday’s episode. Here is a description from a 2011 Dr. Oz show where he took viewers on a tour of his dressing room…

Instead of toilet paper, Dr. Oz likes to use flushable baby wipes with soothing aloe and Vitamin E. The wipes are soothing and help him feel healthier by not causing abrasion to the tender skin of the backside.

Wipes maker Kimberly Clark had their own view on the problem of wipes in sewer pipes and issued a statement.

Fatberg 2: Thames Water Removes 250-foot Long Fatberg from Beneath London

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Thames Water company in London removed another massive “fatberg” from a neighborhood in western London. The 250′ (80m) was a mixture of grease, nondispersible wipes and debris flushed down drains and toilets in the Shebard’s Bush area.

The pile of discarded fat, rags and trash filled a sewer line nearly as long as a 747 jumbo jet.

It took Thames Water workers four days to muck out the piles trash. The mounds of debris nearly filled the pipe completely and were a danger to nearby homes and businesses who might be flooded with sewage if the pipeline clogged and started to back-up.

“We spend $20 million a year tackling blockages, most of them formed because people have tipped cooking fats down the drain and wet wipes down the loo. The sewers serve an important purpose – they are not an abyss for household rubbish.” – Dave Dennis, Thames Water Sewer Operations Manager

Continue reading the story on the BBC website >

Thames Water press release >

Wipes Maker Dude Wipes Sponsors MMA Fighters

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You have to hand it to them  – Dude Wipes seems to know their target audience and is aiming to reach as many “dudes” as possible by sponsoring mixed martial arts fighters.

Wipes maker Dude Wipes (which produces individually packaged “flushable” wipes for dudes)  is sponsoring two MMA fighters and when the fighters appear in the ring Twitter explodes with references to Dude Wipes. For one fight in July #DudeWipes was one of Twitter’s top three trending tags for the entire world.

Dude Wipes is sponsoring fighters Matt Brown and Tyron Woodley.

 

 

Michigan Nursing Home Solves Plumbing Issues with Monster Sewage Shredder

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Michigan Nursing Home Solves Plumbing Issues with Monster Sewage Shredder

Running a nursing home can be a challenging assignment. From the health and safety of every resident and staff member to the daily task of maintaining a sprawling facility – it’s a demanding job. With all the tasks managers face, the proper disposal of wastewater is probably not top of mind. However, more and more nursing homes and hospitals are facing challenges with items improperly flushed down the toilet such as cleaning wipes, diapers, clothing and other debris.

“I never knew something like these sewer grinders existed,” said Gwinn. “I went online to the Monster Industrial website and took a look at the grinder video and wow. That sold me right away,” said Jason Gwinn of Gwinn Brothers Construction

Continue Reading the Success Story Here

New Vertical Auger Monster Screen Fits Inside Pump Stations

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Vertical Auger Monster

The new Vertical Auger Monster captures flushable wipes & protects pumps.

Wastewater pump stations are facing an influx of sewer clogging rags and debris, so JWC Environmental engineers developed a breakthrough Vertical Auger Monster® screening system to fit inside cramped pump stations and provide complete pump protection.

Once installed, Auger Monster model AGV safely and easily screens, cleans and conveys rags and debris straight up and out of the sewer system. This gives collection system managers an affordable new way to remove rags before they can clog sewage pumps and eliminate the wasted time and expense of de-ragging a pump.

The vertical Auger Monster is attached to the wall of the pump station next to the influent pipeline and captures rags, wipes, plastics and trash before they get inside the wet well. The screen is custom built to fit each site and can screen up to 1 million gallons per day (158 m3/h). It can also be installed as a headworks screen for a small treatment plant or lagoon system.

“The 90° Auger Monster opens up a whole new series of applications,” said Rob Sabol, Director of R&D for JWCE. “It fits into a tight footprint to provide complete pump protection by capturing, cleaning and removing rags and trash.”

Even small trash such as cigarette butts can’t escape the Auger Monster. A high-capture rate screening basket with ¼” (6mm) circular openings stops the debris and the rotating auger lifts it to ground level. The patented compaction zone compresses and dewaters material before dropping it into a plastic bag or bin ready for landfill disposal.

Auger Monster model AGV offers these unique features: a Muffin Monster® grinder to shred material so it is easier to wash, convey and compact; a spray wash system removes soft organics and puts it back in the wastewater flow where it belongs, and the compaction zone reduces the volume of material so fewer trips to the landfill are needed.

“The terrible problem with ‘flushable’ wipes in the sewer system requires creative and affordable solutions,” said Scott Kelly, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “The new vertical Auger Monster screen is the solution collection systems managers will like –it’s affordable, operates automatically and makes pump stations reliable once again.”

Our new vertical screen joins a complete family of Auger Monster screening systems. While AGV screens at 90°, models ACE, AGE and ALE are installed at 35° or 45° for high flow screening. The Auger Monster is popular in the wastewater industry because it incorporates an entire headworks system into a single package – a rugged Muffin Monster® or Macho Monster grinder, screen, washer, conveyor and compactor. It’s an affordable screening solution for small and medium-sized treatment plants with flow rates up to 10 million gallons per day (1,600 m3/h).

Request a quote today >

Auger Monster is also an award-winning technology – winning the Water Environment Federation’s prestigious Innovative Technology Award in 1997.