Are Flushable Wipes Really Flushable

Can You Flush Flushable or Disposable Wipes?

Flushable wipes are commonly used in various households and institutions, including schools, offices, and daycares. Many people use these wipes daily and they typically end up in the toilet and down the drain. Since the name implies that they can be flushed after use, many assume that they dissolve completely when flushed. However, it has been recently discovered that not all of these wipes are safe to flush.

Can You Flush Baby Wipes and Do They Cause Sewer Blockage?

These products can be flushed just like any other wet wipes, however, it does depend on the material of the wipe. If the wipe contains plastic, then it will not be able to completely dissolve. For example, in England, there is a widespread issue with non-disposable wet wipes. This issue has become so great that there is actually an island that has formed in the middle of the Thames River and is almost entirely made of wet wipes. This island has become so vast that it is now the size of two tennis courts. Not only is this island an eyesore, but it also has a negative impact on the surrounding wildlife by releasing microplastics into their ecosystem. Microplastics are small pieces of plastic that are found in our oceans and elsewhere. They are part of the larger problem of plastic pollution, which has been linked to many detrimental impacts on the environment, as well as human health. These microplastics poison the food source of many animals that we consume which, in turn, also makes the food toxic for us to consume.

Sewer Line Condition Assessment and Acoustic Inspection Technology

The importance of sewer line condition assessment cannot be overstated. These inspections are a great way to determine if there is any buildup or other issues that need to be addressed inside the sewer line. When there is an issue in the sewer line, whether it is grease, roots, or disposable wipes, one of the best ways to conduct a sewer line inspection quickly is with acoustic technology.

Traditional methods, like closed caption television (CCTV), robotic cameras, are used to see along the entire length of the pipe. This can be time consuming and expensive. On average, a camera operator will inspect approximately 1,800-2,000 ft of sewer line per day. The cost to inspect one foot of sewer line can range anywhere from $.75 – $1.90.

Acoustic technology is an alternative inspection tool used to prioritize which sewer lines are in need of CCTV inspection. This technology uses high frequency sound to determine the available capacity within the sewer line. On average, only 18-20% of wastewater collection systems should need CCTV inspection. The problem is, determining which 18-20% to inspect. Using an acoustic sewer line rapid assessment tool helps cities find blockages caused by disposable wipes, grease, roots, or other blockages in less than 180 seconds. The tool can be easily deployed and inspects approximately 20,000 feet per day or more at a cost of only $.25 per foot.

CCTV Sewer Inspections Can Help Determine How to Fix Sanitary Sewer Overflows

A Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) is a hidden problem within every sanitary sewer system in America. The results of an untreated wastewater overflow being released into the environment can be destructive on many levels. SSOs can occur when there is a blockage or failure of a sewer pipe or fixture during heavy rains, or when wastewater is released through a manhole or other opening.

Sanitary sewer overflows have been the subject of much debate and controversy in recent years. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there are approximately 240,000 sanitary sewer overflows that occur each year in the United States alone. The EPA has also stated that SSOs contribute to pollution of surface waters, groundwater contamination, and human health problems.

To help reduce the number of these overflows, as well as their impact on public health and the environment, cities across America are increasingly implementing costly CCTV sewer inspection programs. These are designed to identify areas where SSOs may be occurring. In this way, they can be fixed before they cause damage to property or public health issues for local residents.

How InfoSense’s Sewer Line Rapid Assessment Tool (SL-RAT) Makes Sewer Inspections Easier and Cost Effective

The Sewer Line Rapid Assessment Tool (SL-RAT) is the most efficient way to get a quick snapshot of what’s going on in your sewer lines. SL-RATs help you make more educated decisions about how to repair your sewer lines and prevent problems from arising in the future. InfoSense’s SL-RAT is so effective because it uses non-invasive acoustic sound technology to map all of your pipes. In addition, it saves you time and money by identifying potential problems before they become overflow issues.

Save Time and Resources With InfoSense

Municipalities struggle to find the manpower to inspect the right sewer pipes. The sewer trucks and CCTV equipment used to clean their sewer systems can cost approximately $750,000+. The equipment wastes millions of gallons of clean water annually, increases our carbon footprint, and requires millions of manpower hours to operate. Having an SL-RAT only requires battery charging, a pickup truck, and two man crew. Switching to an acoustic technology significantly improves collection system performance and eliminates environmental waste.

Schedule a Demo today to see how Infosense can help you save both your pipes and your wallet!

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Muldrow, OK Meets Compliance Needs by Meshing Old with New

February’s feature article in Municipal Sewer and Water features the Town of Muldrow in Oklahoma, who is understanding the risks lurking in their collection system and meeting compliance needs, while performing all preventative maintenance in-house with a lean crew.

“Incorporating the SL-RAT for assessing our whole collections system, which is fairly spread out, was an enlightening moment for everybody within our staff. It enabled us to get out in the field, pop manholes, investigate them quickly and see all of the problems that we had throughout the collections system.”

-Matthew Duke

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Colorado Special Districts Pool Approves RH Borden Process

The Colorado Special Districts Property and Liability Pool announced the approval of an annual condition-based maintenance process provided by RH Borden “as an acceptable Best Practice alternative methodology for sewer maintenance as well as … fully compliant with the CSD Pool Sanitation Maintenance Warranty Program.” The SL-RAT helps collection system managers improve maintenance efficiency by identifying risk areas and reducing unnecessary cleaning. This approach helps to reduce water usage while integrating a process for maintaining a cloud-based GIS system of sewer assets.

The approval of this condition-based maintenance program allows CSD Pool members to receive a 5% group purchase discount on equipment and services from RH Borden, and “may effect a 33% discount on General Liability coverage.”

RH Borden has helped dozens of utilities in Utah and neighboring states with conducting acoustic inspections and manhole scanning. Learn more about RH Borden and Company here:

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SL-RAT saving Utah cities like Ivins water & money

The City of Ivins, UT, was maintaining their sewer lines like most utilities around the country – by cleaning the entire system on a time-based schedule. In Ivins case, they were cleaning 50 miles annually to prevent a handful of backup incidences. Since 2020, Ivins, Santa Clara and the Ash Creek Special Service District conducted a pilot acoustic inspection program with the help of R.H. Borden and Co.

Instead of cleaning every pipe, they discovered, by using the SL-RAT, that only 5% of the system actually required maintenance. Thousands of gallons of water, wear and tear on expensive cleaning equipment, and thousands of manhours were saved by inspecting prior to cleaning.

“This is the future. Eventually everyone will do it this way. I just feel like we saw a technology that might work, and it did.”

– Chuck Gillette, Ivins Public Works director

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Hillsborough County using SL-RAT to Fight Against Inflow and Infiltration

Rich Cummings, outgoing Director of Hillsborough County Field Maintenance Services Division, shares insights on what are effective tools for mitigating Inflow and Infiltration. Cummings recommends the Sewer Line Rapid Assessment Tool, or SL-RAT, as an easy way to quickly inspect sewer lines at low cost.

“This could tell me in less than one and a half minutes whether or not that system was good to go or wasn’t,” he says. “There’s nothing else out there that is even close to that.”

– Rich Cummings

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Cincinnati Integrates Innovative Solutions

This month’s Municipal Sewer & Water Magazine cover story features Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati’s implementation of innovative above-ground storm water conveyance solutions to reduce CSO events.

The Sewer Line Rapid Assessment Tool, or SL-RAT, is included in the list of tools MSDGC uses in their asset-management program. In 2014, MSDGC collaborated with the EPA in research demonstrating the use of the SL-RAT and seven years later, we’re glad the SL-RAT remains a relevant and innovative solution for risk mitigation!

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Clarkdale Uses Sound to Detect Sewer Blocks

The Town of Clarkdale, Arizona, will be working with contractors, R.H. Borden and Co., to proactively find blockages in their system with the SL-RAT. Using acoustic inspection costs the city 10% of traditional technologies and will help to map their entire system.

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Town of Midland, Ontario, using SL-RAT to inspect sewers twenty times faster

The Town of Midland in Ontario, Canada is using the SL-RAT to speed up their inspection process. By using acoustic inspection technology, they can focus costly cleaning and CCTV resources and increase sewer maintenance efficiency.

“Not only is this innovative technology helping to save an immense amount of time, but it’s also saving a considerable amount of resources, allowing us to shift those to other projects.”

– André Pepin, Acting Manager of Water & Wastewater Services.

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Oak Ridge Public Works using SL-RAT to find blockages

Oak Ridge Public Works, Tennessee, is using the SL-RAT to screen for blockages in their small diameter sewer lines. It’s always a good idea to alert residents that they may hear unusual sounds coming from their sewers!

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Acoustic Inspections Helps Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Prioritize Cleaning

Rehoboth Beach will utilize a part of a wastewater planning grant to rapidly screen 77,000 linear ft of sewer pipes using acoustic inspection technology. Results of this screening will help focus closed-circuit TV and sewer cleaning work, and is expected to take four weeks to complete.

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