SAN RAFAEL (KPIX 5) – In the midst of the fear of the coronavirus, sterilizing cleaning wipes fly off the shelves. Unfortunately, many of these wipes end up in sewer systems.
Many people keep using these wipes more and more to avoid the coronavirus problems. Workers in plumbing and sewage districts in the Bay Area want this to stop because the wipes are clogging the pipes.
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Wes Fredenburg operates one of the vac trucks for the San Rafael Sanitation District. Its job is to clear sewer pipes. He’s been fighting cloths for the past few days.
“They get caught in the pipes and cause deposits, blockages and overflows. Or they can get caught in a pump and stop the pump, ”said Fredenburg.
He showed a KPIX 5 example of how rags and towels can clog and completely block a pump. Not very hygienic for sanitary towels.
“You just don’t break down. It’s like flushing rags in the toilet, ”said Fredenburg.
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To demonstrate the usefulness of KPIX cameras, a bowl of water was set up. After inserting equal parts of toilet paper and equal parts of wiping and stirring, the TP quickly begins to collapse. Meanwhile, the wipe remains intact in one piece.
“It’s a pretty big issue for sewage authorities,” said Jason Dow, general manager of the Central Marin Sanitation Agency.
He says a problem with the wipes is the labeling. Some brands actually say they are “flushable”.
“There are laws that require wipe manufacturers to use the correct labeling. If the wipe contains synthetic material like plastic or regenerated cellulose, you will no longer be able to label it as “flushable”, ”Dow said.
The bottom line is that regardless of what the label says, these wipes should be thrown in the trash rather than the toilet.
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“Help us out. Keep your towels off our pipes!” Said Fredenburg.