Surge in flushed wipes, gloves is clogging wastewater pumps, Halifax Water warns
Even something as simple as dental floss can cause big problems
Halifax Water is once again urging residents not to flush things like wipes and plastic gloves down the toilet.
James Campbell, the spokesperson for Halifax Water, said there has been a surge of unusual materials showing up in the wastewater treatment system, as COVID-19 has placed a heightened sensitivity around cleanliness.
"We're seeing an influx of gloves that people are wearing during the COVID-19 period. Those materials don't break down in the wastewater system, they clog the pumps," Campbell said.
"The only three things that should be going into the wastewater system are poo, pee and toilet paper. That's it, nothing else."
Wipes & gloves are clogging the sewer system. They belong in the garbage. When residents are quarantining or self-isolating at home due to COVID-19, nobody wants to be out of their residence due to a sewer back-up. This is costly to homeowners & poses potential health risks. <a href="https://t.co/9NqT1mbV67">pic.twitter.com/9NqT1mbV67</a>—@HalifaxWater
Campbell said the wastewater pumping stations are so overrun with things like wipes, dental floss and gloves, that workers are having to pull the pump out of operation for cleaning.
"If they're lucky, the pump is still salvageable," he said. "Sometimes if the blockage is bad enough, it will damage the pump beyond repair."
Campbell said if the blockage is bad enough, it can lead to wastewater backing up into people's homes. For that to be cleaned, those living there would have to leave.
Even if a wipe claims to be safe for flushing, Campbell said it isn't.
Even something as "innocuous" as dental floss can lead to big problems when thousands of people are flushing floss down the toilet.
"It collects into a ball, wraps around the impellers of the pumps and jams them up," Campbell said.
He said Halifax Water crews are trying to keep the water, wastewater and storm-water systems working right now.
"It's really critical with everything going on in HRM. But when they're diverted to do things that are completely unnecessary, that's just a waste of our crew's time."
MORE TOP STORIES