2015 WuHoo! Award for Managing Flushable Wet Wipe Problems September 12, 2015 18:31
Etiquette wants to congratulate the San Francisco Bay area’s Central Contra Costa Sanitary District (CCSD) for receiving the WuHoo! Pollution Prevention Award for its public education regarding flushable wet wipe problems. The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board presented the award at its recent September 2015 meeting for the Sanitary District’s leadership in public education regarding the hazards of flushable wipes.
As Etiquette users know, since wipes do not break down in sewers, they can cause expensive damage to wastewater treatment facilities as well as blockages and backups that overflow into streets and homes costing big bucks, not to mention the disrupted lives and extra work for wastewater employees.
Significantly more maintenance work is required to remove wipes from sewer pipes, pumps and treatment plant equipment. Sewer treatment backups affect people’s lives and the environment.
“Disposable wipes, even those labeled ‘flushable,' are a problem for wastewater collection and treatment facilities,” said the CCCSD pollution prevention program coordinator, in a press release on this topic.
The release goes on to say, the San Francisco Bay area’s Central Contra Costa Sanitary District began its flushable wipe education effort in 2009 with its “Wipes Clog Pipes!” campaign which used community events, newsletters, social media advertising and a billboard to spread the message.
More and more municipalities are not only making an effort to educate the public about the hazards of regular bathroom wet wipes, but more are also becoming acknowledged for the work they are doing. Metro Vancouver is another area taking on the wet wipe challenge. It has started a new project to promote “adult toilet training” to get people to stop flushing wipes and similar products down toilets.
Vancouver understands that wipes can damage wastewater treatment plant equipment, clog sewers and cause sewage overflows. These problems have cost Metro Vancouver about $100,000 so far in 2015 to clean up their pump stations from wet wipe damage with rising utility costs being passed on to residents.
The people in charge of this project wisely understand how difficult it is to change bathroom behavior because it takes place in private. In light of this, the project involves placing posters and decals in public women’s washrooms that include a humorous bathroom tip along with a reminder to never flush wipes. We mentioned the challenge of changing private bathroom personal care habits in this blog post about the Etiquette toilet paper moistener dispenser saying, "the anonymity of the toilet flush is just too powerful."
A project spokesperson said, “We’re just trying to educate, to let people know, that the only thing that goes in the toilet is No. 1, No. 2 and toilet paper.” Toilet paper with Etiquette’s organic-based bathroom hygiene solution for a real flushable wipe that won’t clog pipes, of course.
Municipalities throughout Canada are flushing many disposable wipes marked “flushable” along with feminine hygiene products. And, like in the U.S., in Canada it’s also a nationwide issue, costing Canadians $250 million annually.
The project is expected to cost $85,000 and its success can be tracked by monitoring the amount of wet wipes flowing into a pump station before and after the program’s initiaition.
There is a better way...