Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility is asking its customers to please not flush wet wipes down the toilet. AWWU estimates it is spending an extra $5,000 to $10,000 a week to remove clogged wipes from the system.
The utility company recently spent about $4,500 to mail postcards to its customers. On one side the postcard asks customers not to flush wipes. The other side bears this catchy phrase: “If it didn’t come off a roll, it can’t go in the bowl.”
But customers don’t seem to be heeding the advice. City crews said they are spending an inordinate amount of time cleaning out clogged wipes from pipes and pump stations — twice a week or more in some areas. They said even wipes that claim to be flushable probably aren’t. The safest thing to do is put only toilet paper in the toilet. Anything else will cost time and money.
“It’s our duty to maintain sewer service throughout the municipality,” said AWWU’s Chris Kosinski. “If we have to come out here and maintain clogs and pumps on an ongoing basis it just adds to the cost.”
Kosinski said there is a city law that forbids flushing anything that could clog a public sewer line. He said violators could face a fine that could run $75 to $1,000, but wasn’t sure if anyone had ever been fined.