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Local News

October 28, 2013

Wipes wipe out sewer pumps in Chazy

CHAZY — Pursuit of cleanliness is getting very costly for Town of Chazy wastewater customers.

Yes, the pre-moistened wipes that people are using to supplement toilet paper are called “flushable” on packaging, Chazy Superintendent of Water and Wastewater Systems David Siskavich says. 

“But just because it goes down the toilet in your house doesn’t mean it’s a good product for the municipal system.”

COSTLY REPAIRS

Pumps that easily lasted 2,000 or even 3,000 hours in the past now burn out in 50, 60 hours or so, Siskavich said.

To rebuild the motor on one pump, he said, costs a minimum of $1,200. If the whole unit needs replacement, a new one is priced at between $3,000 and $4,000.

And in the past year, the town has sent out a dozen or more for rebuilding.

At least the moving parts of the pumps can be replaced in-house, but that’s only a small benefit, Siskavich says, as those blades and other parts cost about $1,000 per pump.

“My sewer budget is really taking a hit,” he said. 

EVADE SCREENS

For 2014, Chazy has budgeted about $12,000 more for wastewater repair, a jump of about 16 percent over 2013, secretary to the supervisor Susan Patnode said.

All because of those flimsy scraps of ...

“I don’t know what they’re made of,” Siskavich said, “but they constantly clog the pumps.”

The wastewater system that serves the hamlet of Chazy has a dozen lift stations, where pumps push raw sewage up toward the main plant on North Farm Road.

Each station has two pumps — that’s for redundancy, Siskavich says — that sit in what might be described as a big kettle. 

Before the pipe carries the sewage in, three catch basins screen most larger items caught in the flow — women’s hygiene products, toothbrushes, toys ...

“The screens actually catch 90 percent of the wipes,” Siskavich said. “The 10 percent that get through are the ones causing the damage.”

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