PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) - So-called 'flushable wipes' are clogging city sewer systems and becoming an issue across the country and the globe.
The City of Palestine is not immune to the issue. Sewer pumps have been taken offline, almost daily, to clear them of debris.
Benjamin Day, a Palestine Sewer System operator, says he sees everything in the sewer system from makeup and baby wipes, and from rags to trash bags.
"You know, the normal person doesn't think about what happens to it once it goes down the drain," said Mark Fletcher, the Palestine Sewer System Supervisor.
Clearing out the system takes "a lot of hours, a lot of manpower, lot of dangerous situations" said Day. However, those days may be long behind them.
Clearwater Controls, based in Scotland, invented the Deragger II in 2011. Since then, it has been helping sewer systems across the globe stay clog free.
"The Deragger is a piece of technology that monitors a pump in a clean environment," says Clearwater Controls Marketing Director Graeme Davies.
In a nutshell, the device notices when a large amount of rags, bags, wipes, etc. could become a clog, and throws the system in reverse to prevent it.
From experience, Day says the Deragger II has cut down from one or two clogs per day at the plant, to around one every two months.
Nate Smith is the Best Practices Officer for the City of Palestine. He says financially, the sewer system plant couldn't have found a better solution.
"This helps save the taxpayer…because it cuts down on manpower hours, it cuts down on safety issues," said Smith.
Smith says the city has purchased three Deragger II systems, one for each of the pumps at the sewer system plant. Each cost about $5,000. Prior to installment, the city was spending up to $3,000 a week in man-power hours and equipment replacement to unclog the systems.
"It has already paid for itself multiple times over," said Smith.