NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH)– The images coming out of clogged sewer pipes in Norwich are dangerous.
The so-called rag balls show what can happen if people flush anything other than toilet paper.
Norwich Public Utilities crews have pulled the huge masses out of clogged pipes and they are urging people not to flush wipes even if they claim to be flushable or anything else that can clog the system.
“The back ups can go into people’s basements depending how long they go unnoticed or unchecked. People don’t call in absolutely,” said Larry Sullivan, who is the Wastewater Integrity Manager for Norwich Public Utilities.
He says clogs can also cause real damage to the system.
“Materials are costly, pumps are very expensive and we do our best to keep things up and running and we are just trying to stop unnecessary call outs,” said Sullivan.
Late Saturday night, NPU workers responded to an emergency call at the Nordon Village pump station. There are two underground pumps there and they’re only about four or five months old but they both seized up and overheated because of a clog.
Each pump can cost $5,000 to replace. Fortunately, they were okay after they shut themselves down.
Toilet paper is really the only thing which breaks down easily as seen in a jar test in which toilet paper, tissues, and flushable wipes are placed in separate jars of water. Each jar is then shaken up.
“The toilet paper disintegrates in minutes,” said Sullivan. “Kleenex to an extent does. It’s still not the best. The wipes don’t break down period.”
The wipes build up, cause back ups, and breakdowns.
“Everything they flush down eventually comes to hit them as they are the ratepayers,” said Sullivan.
Unnecessary repairs needed in wastewater systems throughout the state.