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Flushed diapers, baby wipes costly to city
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The presence of a high amount of diapers and baby wipes flushed down the toilets of Ceres households has caused the city of Ceres to add a $51,000 piece of equipment to strip those items out of the waste stream.

The city completed its new sewer headworks facility last year which was sized to remove an average amount of solids that make its way into the sewer system. However, according to Associate Engineer Jason Chapman, "unfortunately the amount of solid materials in the sewage effluent is greater than anticipated. It appears that the Ceres sewer flows contain a larger amount of solids than a typical city."

Items like diapers, cloth rags, paper, wood, plastic and baby wipe clothes end up being flushed in toilets. City Engineer Toby Wells said all those items are not permitted to be flushed because they cause problems.

"Paper towels and wipes stay together and clump and those are the things that get hung up in pump," said Wells. "You'd be amazed what you'd find in the sewer system. It's not a real huge issue but it creates more work for us."

The solution - besides calling for residents to quit doing the obvious - is to install a larger compactor to the screening system in place. That way the pumps do not have to be shut down so the clog can be removed.