Springfield Water and Sewer Commission: Do not flush disposable wipes

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — The Springfield Water and Sewer Commission wants to remind people that flushing wipes can cause sewage backups causing serious damage during the wastewater treatment process.

According to a press release sent to 22News, that includes paper towels, facial tissues, and other materials, even if the product is marketed to be “flushable.”

The SWSC and its contracted wastewater treatment operator SUEZ are working hard to continue wastewater operations to maintain public health.

SUEZ has reported an increase in recent weeks of baby and disinfectant wipes in the wastewater treatment system. The SWSC requests the public’s help to refrain from flushing anything besides toilet paper and human waste down toilets.

Clogs caused by wipes or other items require the deployment of crews to remove them from wastewater treatment pumps or machinery, diverting resources from other critical operations and putting crew members at risk.

Although some wipes are advertised as being “flushable,” they do not disintegrate in the wastewater system in the same way that toilet paper does.

Wipes are designed to stay intact when wet, and can also entangle with other wipes in the system causing even bigger clogs and backups.

Wipes or other items flushed down the toilet can:

  • clog home plumbing or sewer mains,
  • cause sewer back-ups in a home or neighborhood, or
  • damage equipment at the Springfield Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (SRWTF) or
  • damage pump stations located in neighborhoods throughout Springfield

Clogged pipes, home plumbing damage and unsanitary sewer back-ups in the home usually require a licensed plumber to make necessary repairs, as well as clean up services, which can be costly.

Residents can help prevent these costly repairs by flushing only toilet paper down the toilet. Remember – it’s a toilet, not a trash can.

The SWSC also reminds the public that this is an issue throughout any time of year and not just exclusive to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the SWSC top priority is the continuous and reliable delivery of drinking water and wastewater services, which are critical to daily life and the public health system.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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