California Resort Community Wipes Out Pump Clog Problems

The main culprit causing regular pump clogs in the community of Big Bear City, Calif., is one that occurs all too often in collection systems across the nation: consumer flushables.

“Nine times out of 10, when we pulled a pump it would be clogged with rags, just clogged full of them,” said Andy Keller, sewer department foreman, who estimated that the most problematic of the seven underground pump stations he and his staff operate was clogging up as many as three to four times a week.

Clogging Problems From Flushables Get Expelled

Wastewater pump clogging issues caused by “flushables”—consumer products like wipes that are often marketed as safe for flushing—are well documented. But that does not mean they are going away anytime soon. 

A September 2013 Associated Press article, “Popular Bathroom Wipes Blamed for Sewer Clogs,” introduced the issue to a national audience: Pre-moistened wipes and other consumer goods often marketed as flushable are creating pump clogs and sewage backups in collection systems across the nation. 

High-Head Pumping Knowhow

Reducing energy demands in municipal wastewater infrastructure continues to grow in importance, especially in wastewater collection systems. In high-head pumping applications that result from long force mains or high static heads from hilly terrains, the designer and municipality must evaluate many factors to efficiently overcome friction losses and achieve installation with reasonable capital costs.

Getting Rid of Grit

The simple yet effective philosophy undertaken by Rogers, Ark., Water Utilities Plant Manager Mike Lawrence and his staff is “do the very best job we can.” Doing the best job at the award-winning Rogers Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) means achieving high treatment standards while keeping related costs as minimal as possible.

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