What not to flush will be itemized in public awareness campaign (contributed image).

The cost of flushing sanitary wipes is brought to Red Deer city council

More public education is needed about what not to flush down toilets

There’s a big cost to flushing sanitary wipes and other materials that aren’t biodegradable down the toilet.

Red Deer city council approved $100,000 to make changes to an Anders sanitary lift station that regularly becomes clogged up, and to start a public awareness campaign.

Environmental Services Manager Tim Ainscough said about half the money will be spent on creating an automated de-clogging system. This will replace having to lower a city worker into the sewer system to manually remove non-bio-degradable matter.

He estimates 2,800 pounds of sanitary wipes and other materials are removed from the sewer pipes annually.

The rest of the money will be spent on materials needed to educate the public about the problems that result when anything but toilet paper is flushed.

Ainscough said sanitary wipes, paper towels and feminine hygiene products routinely block up the pipes. These materials need to go in the garbage instead of into the toilet. Even sanitary wipes that claim to be ”flushable” should not be flushed, he added.

Coun. Ken Johnston said his eyes were opened by these facts, and he believes that many other Red Deerians will be shocked to discover they have been exacerbating this problem.

“Whereas people may have the best of intentions, they are adding to the costs of the city,” he added.

Council directed the city’s communications department to target different kinds of consumer groups, including seniors, with information about the potential damage caused by flushing various materials.


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