NSSD installs screens to catch sanitary trash
BY ED COLLINS For the Sun-Times Media September 18, 2013 7:04PM
Inconsiderate people are using their toilets as trash cans and gumming up the works of North Shore Sanitary District’s three treatment plants. | File photo
Updated: November 18, 2013 3:19AM
GURNEE — Inconsiderate people are costing the North Shore Sanitary District millions of dollars because they are using their toilets as trash cans and gumming up the works of the District’s three treatment plants.
Engineers say the public is increasingly flushing all kinds of insoluble rags, facial tissue, swabs, dental floss, wet wipes, feminine hygiene products, medications, and even cat litter, into the District’s sanitary systems. Much of it gets tangled in the equipment and interceptor pipes that carry the raw sewage before it is treated and disposed of in the Des Plaines River.
The District recently spent $3.5 million to install a series of small screens hoping to catch most of this debris before it enters the treatment process.
They also decided to launch a public information campaign in the District’s current Bulletin about the severity of the problem.
In a page one story headlined “It’s a Toilet, Not a Trashcan,” Editor Chris Ganschow makes the point that there are only two things that should safely be flushed down a toilet: human waste and toilet paper.
“Any other item has the potential to clog up the system, regardless of how easily it appears to slide down the bottom of your toilet,” he indicates.
He said things like wet wipes and feminine hygiene products sometimes never even reach a sanitary treatment facility. They simply get clogged in a homeowner’s sanitary pipe system, causing severe basement backups requiring expensive plumbing repairs.
Ganschow said to help protect the substantial investment that the taxpayer makes in financing municipal sewer systems, ”please dispose of personal hygiene products, and anything else that is not toilet paper or human waste, by placing it in your garbage can.”