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Residents' Bathroom Habits Clogging Bypass For Fraser Sinkhole

FRASER (WWJ) There's a temporary bypass now in place, pumping raw sewage around the collapsed sewer main in Macomb County as repairs get underway.

But it's not smooth sailing yet. As WWJ's Ron Dewey learned, there's a new kink in the system causing headaches.

Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller says disposable wipes are causing a new problem in the bypass system. They don't disintegrate like traditional toilet paper, so when they're flushed they clog up the works.

"They're almost turning into a rope," she said. "They're getting caught up in the pumps and our guys are actually having to go in and pick up these screens about every two hours and take out all of these wipes because they are actually choking our pumps," Miller said.

If you have to use a wipe, toss it, don't flush it, she said.

Miller's office will be mailing out flyers to affected residents about the issue and what they can do to help.

The packaging on specialty wipes tell consumers they're safe to flush.

Don't believe it, Miller said.

"You might be able to flush them, but they are not biodegradable," she said.

Repairs to the collapsed section of the line and inspection of the rest of the system will take another four months. So for at least the time being, skip the wipes or toss them in the trash.

"During the heavy rain events we are having to clean out a screen that we have upstream here, sometimes every other hour because otherwise it gets choked," she added.

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