When it comes to flushing things down the toilet that they shouldn’t, Mainers are guilty.
Water treatment officials say all kinds of things end up in their system.
“We find money, all sorts of items, jewelry, people call asking if we found it, people lose licenses, the list is quite long,” said Bradley Moore, Superintendent of Bangor Wastewater Treatment.
Turns out these items can accumulate in pipes and cause sewage backups or overflows. The biggest culprit?
“Baby wipes particularly are a concern and we’ve also had concerns with other materials we use to clean with that are made of non-woven fabrics which don’t disintegrate,” said Moore.
Wipes also cause problems at pumping stations that send wastewater to the treatment plant.
“And that material can clog the impellers to the point of where the pumps are no longer efficient, they can no longer pump the waste water,” said Moore.
And that can not only be expensive, but catastrophic.
Water treatment officials say flushing these items can not only lead to sewage backups into local waterways, but also private homes.
“If backs up into the sewer system, it has the potential of backing up into people’s homes and into their cellars,” said Moore.
And that’s exactly the message the city is trying to get across–
“There’s going to be an ad campaign where it will highlight this problem and try to educate the public.”