Baby wipes block up sewage system in Kerry town
Baby wipes have been blamed for blocking up a sewage system in a rural town, leading to a discharge of waste into a major angling river in Kerry.
Kerry County Council said the incident took place on the Mulaghi River, a tributary of River Maine. It is being reported to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Water Service workers discovered baby wipes had built up and clogged up the sewers in Castleisland, a council spokesperson said.
Both the council and the EPA said “flushable” wipes can still cause problems as they do not disintegrate.
A common storm water and sewerage system operates in Castleisland.
The recent discharge into the river would “not be representative of the normal working of the sewerage system in the town”, a Council spokesperson said.
Water services were alerted after video footage emerged of sewage pumping out into the river. Locals also complained about a strong smell from a bridge on the edge of town and
Locals believe the discharge was ongoing over a number of days. When council workers arrived, they found the sewers in the area had become clogged and blocked due to a build up of the wipes.
The wipes are being flushed down toilets and even a small number can cause a sewer to block, the council said.
It is not the first time there has been a strange discharge into sewers in Kerry which has led to problems. A jumper had got into the sewerage system in Dingle and caused a blockage there.
Water Services at Kerry County Council is reporting the discharge to the Environmental Protection Agency as an uncontrolled sewage discharge due to a blocked sewer, it said.
Last year in the USA, warnings were issued in a number of cities about a growing crisis in sewerage systems because of increased disposal of wipes in toilets. The wipes were costing millions of dollars to deal with in treatment plants and in blocked sewers..
A bill was introduced in New York to stop wipe companies from advertising them as flushable.
A public awareness campaign has been underway there and in other major cities.