What not to flush

A graphic on what not to flush provided by the Circleville Utilities Department.

CIRCLEVILLE — When it comes to taking care of the sewers, the Pickaway County Engineer and The City of Circleville are reminding residents to flush responsibly and not put items into the sewer system that can cause backups in homes or at pumping stations.

Among the items the department of utilities is reminding residents can’t be flushed include disposable wipes, personal hygiene products like cotton balls and swabs, medication, cat litter, and sturdy paper towels.

“These items will cause sewer backup issues for customers,” Ragene Pinson, administrative assistant for the department of utilities said. “In addition, it will also cause backup issues at our pumping stations as well as our Waste Water Treatment Facility.”

Terry Frazier, Service Director with the City, said those items won’t decompose and thus can cause clogs, which can be costly to remedy.

“Anything that’s cloth and doesn’t decompose can cause a clog in your own system which could be expensive to repair or if it goes out into the laterals it might require an excavation,” Frazier commented. “These rules apply all the time but we’re more mindful of it now. Disposable wipes are best to be thrown into the trash and not flushed. One wipe isn’t going to cause a problem but multiple ones could, especially where there’s a bend in the system.”

Chris Mullins, Pickaway County Engineer, echoed some of Frazier’s thoughts.

“Sanitary sewer systems whether it’s county, city, or village are designed specifically to use bathroom tissue or toilet paper only,” he said.

Mullins noted that people might not know that even sanitary wipes that claim to be flushable aren’t good for the system and can clog it.

“They can cause backups in the mains and those heavier products can impact the pumps in our 10 lift stations and can clog those as well,” he said. “Even if it says it on the package, you should not flush anything other than normal bathroom tissue.”

Another big issue, according to Mullins, is grease or cooking oils that can gum up the pipes due to rapidly cooling and coagulating.

“Anytime that we have to pull a pump or try to get a main cleaned, the users of that system it comes out of that budget,” he added. “We don’t want to go through a period of not being cognitive of what we’re flushing which can cause a multitude of repair issues.”

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