Streamline - Winter 2017 - 25

No Wipes in the Pipes
BY BETTY GREEN, WASTEWATER TECHNICIAN

big expensive problems for utilities. Increasingly, wipes are causing
serious issues for wastewater treatment plant operators. Many of the wipes entering the sewage
system are not disposable and technically are not flushable even though the label says otherwise.
Particularly bathroom wipes - yes, everyone wants a clean bum, so the usage of these wipes has
skyrocketed over the last decade.
"FLUSHABLE" WIPES ARE

"The road to
Easy Street
goes through
the sewer."
- John Madden

©ANDREY_KUZMIN/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

What are wipes and
why do we like them so much?

Wipes can be paper, tissue or nonwoven material that are subject to light rubbing or friction in
order to remove dirt or liquid from the surface.
We as consumers want wipes that absorb, retain
or release dust or liquid on demand. One of the
main benefits of the wipes is that it provides us
with convenience - it is quicker and easier to use.
It beats the alternative of dispensing a liquid and
then using another cloth or paper towel to clean
or remove the liquid.
Wet wipes are produced as air-laid paper
where the fibers are carried and formed to the
structure of paper by air or with nonwoven spunlace fabric where fibers are intermingled with
hydro entanglement through very high
pressure of water. These wipes are
moistened with water or other liquids
like isopropyl alcohol, or treated with
softeners, lotions and added perfume.
Preservatives such as methylisothiazolinone are used to prevent bacterial or
fungal growth in the package. Then the
finished products are folded and put in a
pocket size package or a box dispenser.
The growth of the disposable wipes
industry, consisting of consumer and
commercial applications, is rising
at double-digit rates - an estimated
$6 billion - according to the Association
of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry
(INDA). A lot of different products we
use today are labeled "flushable," and
with this word, many of us give little
thought to disposing wipes of any kind
down the toilet regardless of the labeling. "Flushable" is often assumed to
mean "biodegradable" in the eyes of

the consumer, so when wipes are flushed down
the toilet, we behave with the assumption of
out-of-sight, out-of-mind. With the explosion
of different kinds of wipes on the market today,
there is a lot of confusion about what is and is not
flushable. For example, baby wipes are not flushable, but these and many other non-flushable
wipes end up in the sewer system.
Damage control

The common practice of flushing wipes has
led to numerous problems at pump stations and
wastewater facilities. The damage caused by
wipes and other non-disposable materials to
pumps, pipes and sensitive treatment equipment
is overwhelming to operators. Operators are
forced to spend hours unclogging and rebuilding
pumps that have broken down, only to do it all
over again because the problem keeps repeating itself.
One approach has been to try to shred or cut
up the stringy wipes within the collections systems. A variety of products, including chopper
pumps and dual grinders, have proven most successful for long-term pump and pipeline protection. Proper preconditioning of wipes and other
waste through grinding before it reaches the
pumps is an effective solution for preventing
damage. This also helps with eliminating safety
risks and reducing the time and energy costs
associated with clogged pumps. Today's dualshafted grinders are now designed specifically
for quick and efficient reduction of wipes. Dualshafted grinders comprise two stacks with rows
of hardened, steel cutters that rotate toward one
another. The cutter teeth grab solids and pull
them through the cutter stack. This shreds solids
into smaller pieces, so the cutters act like a pair
of scissors, slicing the solids rather than crushing
www.vrwa.org

25


http://www.vrwa.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Winter 2017

From the President: Ammonia-Nitrogen
From the Executive Director: Your Most Important Tool
VRWA’s 2017 Expo
How to Pass a Certification Test – The First Time
Slips, Trips and Falls – Winter Safety Tips
Looking Forward to Being of Service
Floodplain Management
No Wipes in the Pipes
Going Green?
Need Cash? Check the Meter!
The Rate Setting Results…Are In
Introducing JumpStart – A New App for Operators to Test Their Skills Before Testing!
Throwing My Loop: Christmas Lights on the Barn!
VRWA Member Corner
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Benefits for VRWA Members
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Intro
Streamline - Winter 2017 - cover1
Streamline - Winter 2017 - cover2
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 3
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 4
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 5
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 6
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 7
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 8
Streamline - Winter 2017 - From the President: Ammonia-Nitrogen
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 10
Streamline - Winter 2017 - From the Executive Director: Your Most Important Tool
Streamline - Winter 2017 - VRWA’s 2017 Expo
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 13
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 14
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 15
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 16
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 17
Streamline - Winter 2017 - How to Pass a Certification Test – The First Time
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 19
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Slips, Trips and Falls – Winter Safety Tips
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Looking Forward to Being of Service
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 22
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Floodplain Management
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 24
Streamline - Winter 2017 - No Wipes in the Pipes
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 26
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Going Green?
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Need Cash? Check the Meter!
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 29
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 30
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 31
Streamline - Winter 2017 - The Rate Setting Results…Are In
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 33
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 34
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Introducing JumpStart – A New App for Operators to Test Their Skills Before Testing!
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 36
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Throwing My Loop: Christmas Lights on the Barn!
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 38
Streamline - Winter 2017 - VRWA Member Corner
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 40
Streamline - Winter 2017 - eLearning Benefits
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Membership Application
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Benefits for VRWA Members
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 44
Streamline - Winter 2017 - VRWA Committees
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Winter 2017 - cover3
Streamline - Winter 2017 - cover4
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