Our Water: non-flushable items causing trouble for sewage system

Local News

Residents asked not to flush clothing or cleaning items

SAN ANGELO, Texas – Standard sewage system maintenance in San Angelo has seen an uptick. With people spending more time at home, and using more cleaning products that aren’t meant to be flushed, clogged pumps have had city crews pulling some late hours.

During a time when toilet paper is in demand and use of cleaning products is high, the local sewage systems are under strain amid an influx of non-flushable items. “We see people here lately flushing undergarments and Clorox wipes and all of those types of things,” said Allison Strube, Water Utility Director for the city of San Angelo. “We just really want to encourage people that those things need to go in the trash can. They are not flushable.”

When these items hit the system they cause back-ups and clogs as they tangle in pumps, necessitating work crews to immediately handle the problem at all hours. While this is not an uncommon task for city crews, the added time and cost is noticeable. “With clogged pumps they have to pull those pumps out of the system,” explained Strube. “Break them apart, see what is blocking those pumps, put them back together put them back in service and it is a lengthy process.”

Some other items that the city often sees flushed that should not be are Q-tips, cotton balls, dental floss and paper towels. All of said items should be placed in the trash, instead of down the toilet or sink. Residents are asked to keep in mind, despite labels like “flushable,” only toilet paper breaks down properly.

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San Angelo is in standard conservation, which restricts outside watering to twice every seven days at no more than 1 inch per week. Watering is prohibited between noon and 6:00 p.m., but runoff of more than 150 feet down any street, gutter, alley or ditch is prohibited.

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