10-ton mass of baby wipes clogs Tel Aviv pumping station

Millions of stuck-together baby wipes were hauled out by men working around the clock. The wipes had caused a huge blockage of the sewage system in the Tel Aviv area.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

What harm could a simple baby wipe do, most people would think. It cleans a baby’s rear end, cools your face after a long plane ride, and takes grease off your hands, among other happy uses. Well, it turns out that a wipe can do a lot of damage when it joins millions upon millions of others in the sewage system.

Igudan, the company in charge of wastewater and sewage treatment in the Tel Aviv area, had several employees laboring around the clock last weekend when the Ayalon pumping station was blocked by a 10-ton mass of baby wipes that had been thrown into toilets around the region, Arutz7 reported Tuesday.

A short video clip shows a long, dark mass on a hook being guided by several men wearing white coveralls in the station. It so impressed them that one of them shouts to a colleague, “Let’s take a picture!”

It is unknown why people living in Tel Aviv, Givatayim, Rosh Ha’ayin and around 20 other local authorities flushed such a particularly large number of these small cloths in such a short amount of time. But it’s really no laughing matter.

Read  WATCH: Celebration in Jenin over Tel Aviv terror attack

“Wipes have a feature that, along with fats and sticky material in the sewers, they form large chunks and stick to one another,” said Igudan manager Amir Shalev in the report. “The wipes are not disposable at all and they form huge blocks. They stick in the systems, pumps and clog lines, which also costs a lot of money to fix.”

According to the Environmental Protection Ministry, even wipes marketed as “flushable” cannot be thrown down the toilet, because they do not, in fact, disintegrate.

It may sound funny, but the ministry’s numbers are staggering. Israel’s annual consumption is about 3.1 billion wipes per year – which means about 407 wipes per person in the country.

They account for about one-third of the waste that goes to wastewater treatment plants. And the cost to the economy due to the damage caused to sewage systems by these simple baby products is estimated at 12 million shekels a year. That’s not baby talk!