The Village of Keremeos is asking residents not to be misled and flush so-called ‘flushable’ wipes after a lift station pump seized up.
The wipes had wrapped up around the pump and burned out the motor, requiring quick action from village workers as sewage began to back up.
“I don’t know why they are called flushable wipes because they are definitely not,” said Marg Coulson, the village’s chief administrative officer. “This is just one kind of damage they can cause in a sanitary sewer system. They can clog things, they can wrap around mechanisms in the pumps, and this one caused it to seize and ruin the motor.”
It was not the pump at Lift Station 1, the largest and last pump station ahead of the wastewater treatment plant, but it was still a costly repair.
In March, the village’s council approved the purchase of a new pump for Lift Station 1 for $13,675. The damaged station’s pump is smaller, but the cost to the village for the repairs is more than just the cost of the pump.
“That’s not including the callout time for the staff, the staff time to un-seize it and diagnose how bad it was.”
The village ended up having to use their backup to get the lift station up and running again, and are now looking at having to purchase a replacement in case of another emergency.
“We don’t ever like to be without a backup, because it starts backing up immediately,” said Coulson. “It’s very avoidable, which is why we’re asking for our residents’ assistance with this.”
The lift stations across the community are necessary parts of the sanitary sewer system, pulling waste up and pumping it over to the wastewater treatment plant for treatment.
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