Watch what you flush

Utilities official says wipes clog sewers

SALEM — Despite what people think, disposable wipes should not be flushed down the toilet — that’s the strong message from city Utilities Commission Chairman Bob Hodgson.

“They do not dissolve. They are a hazard,” he said Tuesday.

The issue of wipes advertised as flushable came up during the commission meeting when Hodgson talked about issues with the Bentley Road pump station getting clogged up due to all the disposable wipes coming from properties in the northeast end of town.

The Bentley Road pump station, located at the west end of Bentley, is where the wastewater flows from that section of the city.

“It’s like putting a dish cloth in a mixer,” Hodgson said.

Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart said in order to try to prevent future problems, a type of screening device was installed at the pump station to try to catch the wipes and any other materials that can clog up the system.

In other business, the commission awarded a contract for sludge disposal to Agri Sludge of Shreve, reflecting an increase from the previous contract with the company. Agri Sludge was the lone bidder for the contract to transfer and land apply liquid sludge on a dry ton basis, to dewater, transfer and land apply the sludge or take to a landfill.

The commission also awarded contracts for chemicals for the year, with very little change from the prices the previous year.

Wastewater treatment plant manager Jeff Zimmerman gave an update on the progress of the Phase II plant improvements project.

For the Phase III plant improvements project, a work session will be held at 3 p.m. March 12 to hear the scope of work for the design by Burgess & Niple engineering firm, to be followed by the regular meeting at 4 p.m. March 12.