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Brownsburg told not to flush wet wipes after sewer backups

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (WISH) – Sewers are overflowing in Brownsburg, and now town officials are looking to fix a problem they say stems from the bathroom habits of residents.

Earlier this month, Kathy Dillon, Brownsburg’s wastewater superintendent, spoke in front of the town council about an ongoing issue relating to the disposal of wet wipes.

Town officials are begging Brownsburg residents to stop flushing their wet wipes down the toilet. Dillon urges people to think before throwing their wipes down the drain.

“The baby wipes are a huge problem,” said Dillon.

According to Dillon, they realized there was a problem around the 4th of July, when the department noticed the flow sensors were not working.

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“I got out there and baby wipes have wrapped perfectly all up and down that sensor system in there, and so the lift station thought it should be pumping all the time, but it was actually dry to the bottom. Which will burn up our pumps and that’s a $15,000-20,000 pump sitting down there,” said Dillon.

Ben Ratcliffe, a Brownsburg resident, says that he regularly uses wet wipes for his three-year-old son and flushes them.

“We don’t even think twice about it. It’s like wet toilet paper that doesn’t fall apart when you get it wet,” said Ratcliffe. “I mean, they say ‘flushable’ so I didn’t worry too much about it.”

Matt Harrold with Chapman Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing says they get calls from people all the time who have clogged pipes from this very problem.

“They’re all going to come together as one mass and then they get to a pumping station and they can wrap around the pumps and get caught in a pump,” said Harrold.

Harrold added that the wipes do not break down like toilet paper does, and should never be flushed.

After hearing about the problem, residents like Ratcliffe plan to change their habits.

“I’m definitely going to cut back knowing now, but going forward I don’t know how they could fix it on their end. They should put ‘nonflushable’ on the wipes so I won’t buy them then,” said Ratcliffe.

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