Commode contraband causes problems for Water Authority

Published: Mar. 27, 2020 at 12:30 AM EDT
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In Botetourt County Thursday, a routine maintenance crew for the Western Virginia Water Authority faced a not-so-routine problem: slabs of paper towels, wipes, cloth and more, all things people desperate for toilet paper used, then flushed.

"They did not break down," said Water Authority Spokesperson Sarah Baumgardener, while starring at a bucketful of the stuff.

"When the pumps get clogged up, that causes damage to the pump," said Baumgardener. That damage can run into the thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars.

And that’s not the only problem.

Water "starts backing up. And that means we can have backups in your neighborhood, and backups in your house. We don't want that," she said.

Water authority crews are doing what they can to clear blockages before that happens But all the commode contraband getting flushed down the pipes means those crews are scrambling.

"Normally we clean these pumps out every couple of months. There are some we’ve had to clean twice in one week," said Baumgardner.

Baumgardener says these issues are entirely avoidable. The only thing you should be flushing, for the time being, is toilet paper. Anything else should find its way to the trash.

"So please, no wipes in the pipes," she said.

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