‘Flushable’ wipes cause 1,200-foot clog in Green Bay sewers

Green Bay Public Works cleans out 12-hundred foot clog of flushable wipes
Green Bay Public Works cleans out 12-hundred foot clog of flushable wipes(WBAY)
Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 6:31 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A product that is made to keep you feeling clean is causing some nasty problems for Green Bay’s sanitary sewer systems.

For years, Green Bay Public Works has responded to issues with clogged pipes due to people flushing so-called “flushable” wipes.

“There’s really only three things that belong going down a toilet and it’s the three P’s -- it’s pee, it’s poop, and it’s paper,” said Steve Grenier, Director of Public Works, City of Green Bay.

On Tuesday, Public Works cleaned out 1,200 feet of sanitary line, and at the bottom workers found flushable wipes and absorbent pads clogging up two pumps on Green Bay’s west side.

“These wipes literally placed hundreds of homes and businesses at risk for a sanitary backup. We could had a very catastrophic event, and this goes on all over the city,” said Grenier.

Despite the labels on the packaging, Public Works says flushable wipes do not dissolve like toilet paper. They can cause huge problems for the city’s sewer systems if flushed down a toilet and should always be disposed of in a trash can.

“If you cause, your actions cause a problem, you are liable,” Grenier said, “both on a citation basis and for the actual cost for repairs. You damage a pump, you could be looking at costing thousands of dollars very, very quickly.”

Public Works says it can track the cause of clogging problems with a new tool that can reach beyond the city’s main sewer lines to the pipes that come from your house.

“Not only do we have a camera that goes down the mainline sewer and can see the condition of the sewer while we’re televising, but we have one now that has a deployable probe on it that we can launch and go up your lateral and see what’s in your lateral,” said Grenier.

Public Works says this should serve as a reminder to throw the wipes out, not flush them down.

Workers discovered the blockages in time. You should only flush pee, poo and toilet paper.

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