In early 2011, the Maine Water Environment Association conducted a study across the Maine in respect to the flushable wipes issue. From the 58 responses they received, they found that:
- 90% indicated they were having problems
- 40% indicated that they had more than 10 incidents in the previous year
- Estimated costs were nearly $600,000 or an average of $37,500 per town
In Portland, ME officials reported spending $4.5 million installing screens in two pump stations.
“We estimated based on the capital costs of those screens, and the labor and disposal of the wipes, we were paying $800 per dry pound of wipes,” – Michelle Clements, a spokeswoman for the Portland (ME) Water District.
Not only are wipes damaging equipment, interfering with pump stations, but they are also affecting the environment. When there is an overflow at the pump stations, the extra water goes out into the Penobscot River, carrying with it the unintended sewage and materials as well.
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