Clark County regrets sewage clog from flushable wipes

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Courtesy of Clark County Water Recovery District The Clark County Water Recovery District supplies an example of buildup of products that should not be flushed.

Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017|2 a.m.

Although flushable wipes are promoted as simply that, the alternative to bathroom tissue is a genuine “discomfort in the drain” for regional energy workers.

The Clark County Water Improvement District spends 10s of thousands of dollars each year on clearing buildup of items that should not be flushed, with a large part of that being flushable wipes. The issue has actually only been worsening since late.

With the appeal of utilizing wipes growing across the country, problems surrounding the item are increasing.

“They just do not break up like bathroom tissue does,” stated Julie Chadburn, compliance and regulatory affairs administrator with the Clark County Water Recovery District. “They build up and they can block a house owner’s pipeline and trigger an overflow. They’ll likewise clog the sewer pipelines in the street, which can overflow and cause a public health problem.”

The wipes obstruct pipelines and pumps at the improvement district’s lift stations– a center where wastewater is transferred from lower to greater elevations.

“We need to go in and regularly pull all those from our pumps, so that they don’t tear up our pumps and that our lift stations work effectively,” she said. “A few of them do survive the lift station, and we have to pull them out of the first stage of our treatment procedure so that they do not go in and block our treatment plant pumps.”

The improvement district has a project focused on informing the public about not flushing wipes and other items like prescription pills called Pain in the Drain.

“We’re increase the educational part of it,” Chadburn stated. “We planning to have some PSAs out in the future. We target certain groups to educate them that just the three Ps ought to be put in the toilet and whatever else need to go in the garbage.”

Since the item is billed as a flushable, Chadburn stated individuals are normally surprised that they are not advised to go in the toilet. Because of that, there are numerous lawsuits throughout the nation pertaining to the product being labeled as flushable, only to trigger plumbing issues.

Although not associated with any legal matter now, the improvement district could look for a modification on the labeling of those wipes, having the term “‘flushable” gotten rid of at the state level, Chadburn said.

“We would be looking at dealing with market groups on legal remedies,” she said. “We’ll look and see exactly what we might require to the Nevada Legislature and see what we might do on the state level. But it’s actually a group effort.”

The water recovery district is hosting an open house 9 a.m.-3 p.m.Saturday at its Flamingo Resource Center, 5857 E. Flamingo Roadway. Tours, demonstrations and examples of flushable clean accumulation that was gotten rid of from pipelines and more will be provided.

“We kind of fly under the radar. When you flush or wash something down the drain, it’s type of out of sight, from mind,” Chadburn said. “We truly offer an important service for the neighborhood. For all the waste water we take in, we treat it and we put back extremely treated water back into our environment, which extends our water resource.

“So by enabling individuals to come in and see how we do that … they can see from start to complete what we take in and the quality of water we returned into the environment.”

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