COLORADO SPRINGS (KKTV/CNN) – Those flushable wipes you’re using at home could be causing serious issues for your area’s waste system.
One Colorado crew took a close (and frankly, disgusting) look at the trouble so-called “flushable” wipes can cause.
There’s standard maintenance to clear pipes of fat, oil, and grease – together called “fog.”
Curtiss Gutierrez says he’s played witch RC cars as a kid and now he works with one.
“… after a while it does get looking like cottage cheese. It gets thick,” Gutierrez said. “It’s an expensive one so I take care of it.”
It snakes through drains to show where fog is coming from, and can pinpoint whose home is the culprit.
So what does this have to do with flushable wipes?
Fog is just one part of the equation.
Flushable wipes are the other part, and they are anything but flushable.
“That is what it says, but it is not. It causes a huge problem,” said Nick Verdi, Operation Waste Water Supervisor.
Verdi has seen first-hand what happens when the combination of wipes and grease causes blockages.
“You have a manhole overflowing or wastewater backing into homes or businesses, you definitely have to have a strong stomach,” Verdi said.
That’s where Chris Fernandez comes in.
He’s got a great attitude about his job.
“Smells like my mortgage payment,” he joked.
Especially when you consider he’s helping separate what he calls “non-organics.”
“Baby wipes, grease, toys, plastics, underwear, things like that,” he said.
While this fecal-covered escalator helps separate, that fog and wipe combo can create some sewage nightmares.
“We have had balls, rag balls literally this big about fifty pounds and then we put those up and put them in the roll off,” Fernandez said.
With a rake, or pitchfork.
“You get used to it, you definitely get used to it,” he said.
Colorado Springs Utilities asks people to not flush flushable wipes and to no pour grease or fat down the drain.
They say let it cool, then throw it out.