Wipes causing sewer backups in Marshall

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

MARSHALL, Mich. (WOOD) — Marshall’s sewer system is experiencing a string of problems.

A string of wipes wrapped together and strangling a lift pump that moves raw sewage away from homes and businesses.

The pump station is on Fountain Street in Marshall and handles about 25% of the city’s sewer flow.

It is a common problem in sanitary sewer systems.

These so-called flushable wipes don’t break down the way toilet paper does. Instead, it accumulates. 

While it says flushable on the package, that only means it won’t clog your toilet. But the sewer systems are another matter. 

“Those wipes get hung up on things they collect on pumps. They collect on joints on the pipe, and they continue to build on each other. They can cause backups in the sewer system,” said Marshall Wastewater Superintendent Alec Egnatuk. “Also, when they get down to the wastewater plant, they collect on the mechanism in our tanks. They can cause undue wear on our pumping equipment.”

Something else to avoid putting down your sink is grease since it solidifies when it cools down. 

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