Barry Orr (pictured above) is a part of the research team at Ryerson Urban Water. Recently, Orr and his colleagues conducted a rigorous comprehensive study on single-use items commonly flushed down the toilet after use. The test aimed to decipher which of these products marketed as flushable are truly safe for the sewer systems.
Pictured below, the study ruled out which products failed to disintegrate when exposed to water during testing. 23 different “flushable” wipes were observed and of the bunch, NONE passed the test. 2 of the single-use products eventually partially broke down but the other 21 never broke down in the test.
Read more about the logistics of the test and how un-flushables are effecting sewers around the world each day: here.
If you follow the posts on NoMoreWipes.com, you recognize the havoc “flushable” wipes are wreaking on sewage systems. In Iberia Parish Sewer System District No. 1, they estimate wipes result in the burn up of 10 to 12 pumps a month. Now the sewer district has raised rates to cover the maintenance of those pumps. Customers are unhappy but the board that oversees the district has elected to wait a year to check the figures before making any rate adjustments. Customers are urged to stop flushing wipes to reduce the pump maintenance.
The sky is blue, grass is green, and, someday, your pumps are going to clog. It’s just another fact of life — or is it?
By Kevin Bates, Global Marketing Director, JWC Environmental
Clogged pumps in wastewater systems is every operator’s worry, holding up operations and requiring a messy and disruptive maintenance call to clear the clog. All types of locations — from municipal collections and private lift stations to small ejector pumps and large pump station facilities — can be plagued by dreaded clogs.
This problem is not a new one, but with higher concentration of disposable wipes in today’s sewage it has reached a crisis level in many locations. Congested pumps, often choked with wipes and debris, were once the everyday reality for a nursing home in Michigan, a municipal pump station in California and a prison in Las Vegas. After incorporating a grinder into their systems, the operators for all three facilities can now tell you they’ve discovered the truth — clogged pumps do not have to be a fact of life.
Comedian Adam Conover explains the madness behind the “flushable” wipes. As he takes a trip down the sewer, he comes across a “fatberg” and San Fransisco Utilities Commission worker, Tyrone Jue tells us what exactly that means and what it does for our sewer systems.
Pretty picture, huh? What you’re looking at is what we call a “fatberg”, a mixture of sewer clogging debris that causes expensive, detrimental clogs in pipes around the world.
As we know, there’s a wipe for just about anything you can think of nowadays; e.g. make-up removing wipes, beard wipes, deodorant wipes, kitchen cleaning wipes, and perhaps the biggest offender, the bum wipes which claim to be flushable and preach to get you feeling cleaner than regular TP after using the restroom.
Question:You wouldn’t knowingly flush pieces of plastic down the toilet, right?
Newsflash:Flushing a single-use wipe isn’t any better!
Wipes contain a tangle of synthetic cellulosic fiber and plastic fibers which makes them almost impossible to breakdown in an average sewer system.
“Fatberg season used to peak on Christmas Day, when people poured turkey fat down the drains in a mass festive clog. Now they’re an all-year hazard, thanks to the inexorable rise of the wet wipe.”
So, as we approach New Year’s resolution time, start thinking of ways you can vow to help the planet this year. Nix the habit of using household and personal wipes and opt for other alternatives. Need an example? Toilet paper mist (cheaper, portable, and your sewer will thank you!)
While wipes remain at the top of the hit list for damaging pipes and clogging sewer systems, we must not forget that toilet paper can still be a large culprit of destruction.
It’s time that we start following in the footsteps of our more innovative counterparts overseas and begin using alternative methods to get cleaner – so, kiss your plunger goodbye forever (not literally, please) and say hello to the bidet. You’ll save money and resources AND feel cleaner….what’s better than that?
“Frankly, I got a bidet to ease the burden on my own infrastructure. But a second benefit is how much water I’m saving by eliminating most of the need for toilet paper, a water-intensive product at the production stage.”
“I estimate the pressurized squirting action uses one or two cups per appointment. But that’s nothing compared to the estimated 13 gallonsof water it takes to produce one roll of TP. And then there are the trees I’m saving. Global TP production uses an estimated 27,000 trees, daily. Additionally, I’m saving lots of money.
Furthermore, bidets will help prevent municipal pipes from clogging and ease sewage treatment processes.”
Disposable Wipes and rags are overwhelming lift station pumps around the world. It’s not the pumps fault – they are only designed for “normal sewage”. The reality is that when wipes combine with FOG and hair in collections systems they can create ragballs that no pump can handle. Our research shows that about 85% of lift stations are not equipped to deal with the problem and the wipes usage is growing every year. Not every lift station has the problem – but when they do JWC Muffin Monsters with Wipes Ready Technologiesare the right answer.
If your facility is facing pump clogging problems the first place to look for answers is with JWC Muffin Monsters. Our Dual shafted sewage and sludge grinders have come to the rescue of enough “non-clog” pumps to know this is not the best solution.
A stunning chart shows the before and after performance of a pump station in Virginia. Since the installation of a 30K series Muffin Monster in 2013, the chart shows a dramatic decrease in the run time of the pumps.
The pumps are running more efficiently and the customer reports the pumps have not clogged once since installation of the Muffin Monster.
The utility is saving on electrical costs, maintenance costs and workers are protected from dealing with a clogged pump. Now that’s win, win, win.
To prevent pump ragging for good and eliminate the cost of vacuum truck services – the town installed a Muffin Monster sewage grinder.
When Otter Creek Water Reclamation District was faced with expensive reoccurring clean-up costs because of rags, wipes, flushables and debris at their largest wastewater pump station, engineers solved the problem with a Muffin Monster sewage grinder.
The Village of South Elgin, established in 1897, is a picturesque community that attracts visitors and new residents with its old world charm. Located about 40 miles northwest of Chicago, Illinois, the Village’s 22,000 residents rely on three wastewater pump stations. The largest of these is located at the Thornwood Lift Station where flow to the station is about 490 gpm (110 m3/h) and three 40-hp (30 kW) pumps need to move sewage at about 600 gpm (136 m3/h) @ 36’ (11m) TDH. Here, build-up of rags, trash wrappings and other debris were clogging the system and forcing it offline. This necessitated regular cleanings totaling over $19,000 per year…
WJLA reporter Kevin Lewis digs deep to look at the problem of wipes clogging sewer pipes in Montgomery County, MD. He even features a Channel Monster sewage grinder in his report. The grinder is located in one of the local pump stations and notes grinders have not yet been installed in all of the agency’s pump stations.
“It’s a huge problem. It’s expensive for us to install this equipment, and ultimately our ratepayers have to pay for it,” said Lyn Riggins, WSSC spokeswoman. “Your toilet is not a trash can.”
Disposable wipes are at it again. The Reading Eagle and maintenance operators at wastewater treatment plants across the nation suggest you dispose of wipes in the trash can not the toilet. As sales of these popular wipes go up so does your plumbing bill. Plumbers are quoting from $200 – $400 per visit due to this deceiving product. Not to mention wastewater treatment plants have spent over $3,000 to unclog their equipment each time!
How much does the trash people are flushing down the toilet cost local sewer agencies? Few people know and few records have been kept in the wastewater industry. Until now. Starting in 2013 many of the wastewater associations have started gathering detailed research on the cost of clogged sewer pumps – equipment damage, labor costs, overtime, sewer spills, wasted electricity and the expense of retrofitting pumps with better impellers or installing a sewer grinder, such as the Muffin Monster.
What the data gathering efforts are finding is sewer pump ragging is costing the industry hundreds of millions of dollars in wasted effort and needless repair. The research has found the average cost of clogged sewer pumps is $30,000 per year, per pump station. These pump stations average about 1-10 million gallons per day (150-1500 m3/h) of raw sewage.
Here are some recent studies…
Orange County, CA – $30,000 per year/station – Analyzing 10 pump stations for 1 year this agency found they had over $300,000 in additional labor and parts for deragging pumps. At some stations they are deragging pumps on a weekly basis.
New England – $29,000 per year/city – According to a survey conducted by a regional wastewater association
Southwest Washington State – $32,000 per year/station – This agency added wasted electrical usage to their cost calculations, while also looking at wasted parts and labor costs. As rags build up on the pump’s impeller it causes drag and pumping inefficiency. Variable frequency drives will speed up to move the same amount of wastewater, thus wasting electricity. As the build-up of rags worsens an additional pump may be needed to make-up for the pump that is becoming clogged.
Chicago Suburbs, IL – $19,000 per year/station – When this town’s main lift station would rag up, the sewer agency hired a vacuum truck company to go and clean out the lift station and get it working again. This occurred on a weekly basis.
There is a cost even more important to consider when looking for ways to deal with pump ragging – the safety of America’s wastewater professionals. Deragging a pump by hand is not only labor intensive, messy and costly – it’s also dangerous.
When called upon to derag a sewer pump wastewater professionals are exposed to:
Confined space danger
Hydrogen sulfide gas
Hypodermic needles flushed down toilets
Diseases and viruses
In the last 5 years alone, JWC Environmental has installed over 4,000 pump station grinders. If each station was costing a local sewage agency roughly $30,000 to deal with, then with the Muffin Monster grinder, which makes pump ragging go away, it’s saving America’s sewer agencies roughly $120,000,000 per year. That’s $120 million every year. But more importantly, at least in our opinion, we’re saving America’s wastewater professionals from the dangerous task of deragging sewer pumps by hand.
Monsters are here to lend a hand. Can we help you wipe out pump ragging? Request a quote or call us at (800) 331-2277.
We here at JWCE have learned a few tricks after installing over 35,000 Muffin Monster sewage grinders to deal with pump ragging problems. As we travel across the nation solving ragging issues we see some of the same challenges in every city.
So here’s 40 years worth of JWCE’s best money saving ideas:
If you have a dry well sewage pump station, then install an in-line Muffin Monster or Macho Monster grinder in front of the pump. These grinders perform extremely well when located right in front of the pump and can last for years since they’re not exposed to corrosive gas.
Designing and building a new dry well sewage pump station? If you’re not sure if you’ll need a Muffin Monster yet (most pump stations do eventually need one) – why not install a place-holder/spacer pipe the length of our in-line Muffin Monster? This way, when pump ragging does begin the sewer agency can quickly swap out the piece of pipe and install a powerful Muffin Monster grinder.
Please consult a local JWCE rep to determine the length of spacer pipe needed for your station. It’s also a good idea to think about overhead clearance for the moving the grinder in and out.
Wet well pump station? Request JWCE’s optional Baldor® immersible motor for your Monster grinder. It’s a submersible motor designed to run at a depth of 30′ (9m) of wastewater for several days, but also runs efficiently in open air without burning out. Many immersible motors quickly overheat and burn out when they are not submerged. Sewage grinders are rarely, if ever, submerged, and only during the worst rain storms once or twice a year. The Baldor motor is a great feature that can help you save by preventing motor burn outs.
Sometimes source control is a smart solution. We’ve installed thousands of Muffin Monsters grinders at prisons, nursing homes, retirement homes, hospitals and institutions because the local sewer authority required them to install a grinder.
Debris from these facilities can quickly lead to ragging in a nearby pump station. Since cities and agencies are responsible for meeting state and EPA National Pollution Discharge Elimination System requirements – local agencies have the authority to require source control and ask facilities discharging the debris to either stop or install a sewage grinder or screen on their property.
Don’t oversize the grinder. Muffin Monster, Macho Monster and Channel Monster sewage grinders are designed to run a maximum efficiency when flow fills at least half the cutter stack. This distributes debris across a wider range of our sharp steel cutters so maximum cutting power can be applied. In addition, this allows the cutters to wear at a more even rate. Need a super high peak flow? Add our custom made static bar screens over the grinder to allow peak flow to pass over the grinder, and the bar screen will catch rags, wipes and debris before they can pass through.
JWC’s Channel Monster XD 2.5 will replace bar screens.
JWC Environmental received a $1.2 million dollar order this week for several of our large Channel Monster® XD2.5 grinders. These massive systems were ordered to replace old climber bar screens located in pump stations throughout the New England area. The old screens were causing several problems, including falling apart, increased maintenance, rising costs and odor concerns.
The new, powerful Channel Monsters can handle nearly 60 million gallons per day of wastewater and use two rows of sharp steel cutter teeth to shred trash, rags, rocks, branches and debris into small particles that flow easily through pumps and pipes.
Screenings can then pass through the pump station and be screened out when they reach the headworks of the wastewater treatment plant. This eliminates noise, cost, odor and access problems associated with screening debris inside pump stations. JWC’s exclusive immersible motors also allow reliable grinding very deep pump stations, like these New York City Dept of Environmental Protection (NYC-DEP) facilities, where periodic flooding can occur.
Consulting engineers,Dvirka and Bartilucci, specified the patented Channel Monsters and is managing the design work. JWC representative G.P. Jager & Associates is overseeing the integration of these Monsters as part of the NYC-DEP pumping station upgrade projects. Channel Monsters are made in the USA at JWC’s two factories in Santa Ana, California and Buford, Georgia.