March 27, 2020 - 5:07 pm - Posted in News

Rock Valley, Iowa — There is no such thing as a flushable wipe — that from Rock Valley City Foreman Myron Van Ginkel.

He says, that like Sheldon city crews, Rock Valley city crews have also been dealing with the aftermath of people flushing wipes down the toilet. Van Ginkel says the biggest problem they have seen is with disinfecting wipes like Clorox wipes.

(as said:)”We’ve seen a lot of like the Clorox-like disinfecting wipes. I don’t know if people are disinfecting the bathrooms and then flushing them? You get the personal wipes too. I don’t know if it’s due to the shortage of toilet paper and they had these around or what but we’ve just never seen an influx like we have in the past two weeks.”

Van Ginkel says that even if the wipes are marketed as “flushable wipes,” there are really no wipes that are flushable.

(as said:)”The toilet paper is designed to disintegrate a lot easier, you know even coming through the pipes it’s designed to do that. These wipes are designed to stay whole and they do not dissolve in water or you know, break up in water. So what happens is, once you get one stuck in the pump what happens is it gets caught on the impeller and just keeps spinning around. Well, the next one comes and pretty soon you got about 50 of them, all stuck there and the pump can’t pump any water anymore.”

He tells us what the crews need to do when there are wipe issues.

(as said:)”So you have to pull the pump, dig them all out of the pump and you know, hopefully, everything on the pump worked for protection-wise. If it didn’t, it burns the pump up.”

And Van Ginkel says those pumps and the labor to put them in are not cheap.

(as said:)”We had one burn up and it’s about $7,500 to replace a pump.”

Van Ginkel tells us you don’t have to stop using the wipes, but he asks people to get rid of them in their garbage, like in a plastic bag or something, similar to what you would do with a disposable diaper.

He says if people are really totally without toilet paper, our communities are pretty helpful — and if people asked, there would probably be a way of getting them some toilet paper somehow. But at any rate, he asks people, “please don’t flush wipes.”

Photo coursesy City of Rock Valley
Photo caption: Sewer screen clogged with wipes.

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