KILLINGLY, Conn. (WTNH) — The packages are quite clear. They say ‘Flushable Wipes’ but while they may go down the drain easily enough in most homes they could be causing big problems down the line.
Workers at Killingly’s waste water treatment plant say the wipes don’t break down immediately and end up at the plant. Some are captured in what is known as the scum pit.
“These are the rags the disposable rags that people flush down the toilets,” says assistant plant manager Joe Couture.
He says the disposable rags or wipes are floating on top of the eight foot deep tanks but the same kind of clumps also flow through the system clogging up the grinders known as Muffin Monsters.
“We’re looking at replacing four of the inline muffin monsters for about forty thousand dollars,” says town engineer David Capaccione.
That’s because when they get clogged up they wear out a lot sooner than they should.
“They’re supposed to last five to seven years now they’re only two to three,” says Couture.
He says many communities are facing the same problems. Killingly is also looking into adding a million dollar filtration system to keep out the clogs.
“We’re looking at removing it before it becomes a problem in our pipes but it’s very expensive,” Capaccione.
“That’s the first time I heard about the wipes doing that,” says Sean Bushey of Moosup.
Even if you have a septic system the wipes still end up at waste water treatment plants. Killingly’s 13 pump stations are also getting clogged up and even some homes are finding flushable wipes in their pipes.
“Even if they’re flushable you should stick them in your trash can,” says Casandra Provost of Norwich. “Maybe they wouldn’t have a problem.”
Right now plant workers have to clean out the pit two or three times a month. Ten years ago before this was a problem they only had to do it once a year.