Aug 29 2017

Flushable Bath Toiletries – A Dilemma for City Wastewater Facilities

One-use nature of common consumer products such as baby wipes, deodorant wipes, or bath & shower toiletries has been misdirected in terms of their disposal. Many consumers would agree to flush such wipes and toilet papers instead of putting them out in the dumpsters. Unfortunately, a cumulative aftermath of such practice has rendered operational hindrance in the wastewater facilities of a small town in the US.

Recent reports reveal the issues caused by rising presence of flushable wipes & bath toiletries in the wastewater treatment facility of Keene. Based in Kentucky, Keene is a small town of Jessamine County that holds the population of not more than 8,000. Being a small town, the city’s administrative center is divided across a few villages and downtown localities. However, the wastewater treatment facility deployed across this town handles the toll of used water flowing from parts of Keene.

Air Diffusers laden with Wipes

According to recent reports, the wastewater facility in Keene is being facing problems while segregating the flushable wipes during multiple treatment phases. The operator of Keene’s wastewater treatment plant, Bob Bishop recently invited news personnel to reveal the damaged condition of air diffusers used in the facility. These conditions exhibited how air diffusers laden with waste materials (majorly disposable wipes) were malfunctioning the overall treatment operations in the facility.

The preserved chamber at the wastewater treatment plant in the City of Keene makes rumbling noises to treat more than 40 thousand gallons of wastewater and sewage churn. One of the key component of this facility include air diffusers that inject air into liquid to segregate the sand, gravel and inorganic contaminants through primary centrifugation process. As these materials settle at the bottom of filtration tanks, the wastewater above moves ahead for further purification.

Poor Disintegrating Ability of Flushable Wipes

Off recently, city employees working at this facility expressed their troubles in cleaning the chamber, which is an annual process, where they came across loads of inorganic scoop laden with waste from baby wipes and other flushable bath & shower toiletries. These wipes, flushed down through the toilets, were gaining drastic presence in the city’s sewer system. Over the last two years, their number had increased enough to cause operational inefficacy in air diffusing chambers.

According to the industrial pre-treatment coordinator in Keene, these wipes are not completely dissolving into the water. Their inability to disintegrate in water, unlike toilet papers, is causing a considerable mess in treatment of the city’s wastewater. Manufacturers of such consumer goods are reaping profits as the sales of such bath and shower toiletries continue to soar due to high preference of adults towards flushable wipes. Unfortunately, the aftershocks of such dumping practices have been faced by the air diffuser in the city’s wastewater facility, which is now weighed down by heavy masses of slug materials derived from non-disintegrated bath wipes.  Considering such concerns, manufacturers of baby wipes, deodorant wipes, as well as “flushable” general purpose wipes should shift their focus towards adoption of easily disintegrating raw materials.