Wet wipes face wipe-out!

April 22, 2019

According to Water UK, 93% of blocked UK sewage pipes are caused by wet wipes!

Wet wipes are typically made of plastic resins and synthetic fibres which are non-biodegradable. The Department of the Environment (Defra) says they are “encouraging innovation so that more and more of these products can be recycled and are working with industry to support the development of alternatives, such as a wet-wipe product that does not contain plastic and can, therefore, be flushed”.

While wet wipes can be flushed down the toilet, it’s not until they meet a pump station then they start to cause problems. The nature of wet wipes means they don’t disintegrate or break down in water, ultimately creating blockages in pumps and clogged wastewater pipes. Not only can they cause costly breakdowns and potential flooding, but they also result in harm to our marine life and their ecosystems.

As part of a 25-year environment plan, the government is pledging to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, which includes wet wipes! The Environment Agency tweeted ‘Flushing a wet wipe isn’t disposing of it. It’s environmental littering.’ In an attempt to reduce the environmental impact, the UK has already banned the likes of microbeads, signalled a ban on plastic straws and let’s not forget, the introduction of the 5p plastic bag charge.

The pumps we specify in foul water basement applications are powerful vortex pumps capable of handling solids, but unfortunately, NOT wet wipes. They tend to wind their way around the impeller of the pump and slowly cause a blockage, ultimately resulting in a pump that cannot evacuate the water from a pump station.

With 24/7/365 remote monitoring from SideWinder Tech and a Delta Membranes AlertMaxx2, these blockages can be remotely detected, and a total pump failure avoided. It’s best to avoid using wet wipes but if you have to use them remember, bin it – don’t block it!

Why not take the Thames Water ‘no-drainer’ test? http://binit.thameswater.co.uk

At Packaged Pump Systems, we care about your pump station, so you don’t have to. To keep your pumps healthy in-between services, we need you to show some love too. We’ve created a handy Aftercare Card showing you items not to flush. Grab a download here!