An Amazon search for “adult flushable wipes” yields thirteen pages. It seems wipes are not just for babies anymore and everyone wants a piece of the action. Here are just a few brands; Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Wipes, Dynarex Flushable Adult Wipes, Hygea Flushable Wipes, Charmin Freshmates Flushable Wipes , Dude Wipes Flushable Single Moist Wipes. To be fair, there are other categories of wipes labeled flushable which include household cleaners, makeup removers, hand sanitizers, sunscreen applications and more.
But are they really “flushable”? New York’s Department of Environmental Protection is spending an extra ten million dollars per year to process these so-called flushable cloths. This has become such a problem that several states are suing manufacturers to force them to remove the word flushable from their packaging and advertising.
The season is upon us and many are enjoying their property in the Village. More are arriving daily, using and flushing their wipes, down the drain, out of sight, out of mind, and into the inner workings of the pumps in our lift station. Laboring under gobs of grease and balls of wipes, those poor, overworked pumps don’t stand a chance. So they work harder, valiantly sucking energy as they try to keep up with a flood of sewer nasties, while the foul water inches higher and higher. Once the pumps begin to vibrate and sputter, it is just a matter of time before blocked pipes and clogged filters bring them to a shuddering, grinding halt.
The lift station has three pumps. One went down recently, reduced to a $6,000 pile of useless housing, impellers, seals and bearings. These pumps are not found on the shelves of the local plumbing store. They are a special order item taking months to produce. Because we are a pump down, the City of Show Low has notified us twice of high water alarms for the Village sewer just since May 18. When that happens, someone has to check it out immediately and remedy the problem. The Association is sent a bill for this “service”. In other words, you are paying for everyone who flushes wipes.
It is always apparent what culprit is causing the alarm. In both cases, it was flushable wipes. This is going to be an expensive summer if residents don’t throw these sinister little wipes in the garbage can. It’s a habit, but studies have shown that habits can be broken. As an alternative, one of the retired engineers in the Village has suggested we add Imodium to the water tank. So save the constipation and save our sewer by thinking before throwing those wipes in the toilet. Thanks.