Water-Related News

Flushable wipes creating headache for Cape Coral wastewater managers

"FOG" — Fat, oil, and grease — is a perennial problem in wastewater systems around Thanksgiving and flushable wipes make it worse.

CAPE CORAL – Although they may say “flushable” on the label, flushable wipes are causing major problems for local utilities.

Jeff Pearson, the Utilities Director for the City of Cape Coral, says the wipes do not disintegrate like toilet paper and often remain in the sewer lines for days – even weeks.

The wipes are made of a synthetic material that can get stuck in the pumps, causing backups and pricey repairs.

Many times, the pumps have to be replaced.

Pearson says it costs taxpayers upwards of $500,000 a year to fix broken equipment caused by these flushable wipes.

He said what’s worse is that when wipes combine with cooking oil dumped in the wastewater system, it creates what they call a ‘fatberg’.

That mass of wipes full of congealed grease can blow out sewer pumps and shut down the entire system.