What do latex gloves, gauze and baby wipes have in common — they cause trouble for public works staff when they’re flushed down the toilet or drain.
All three items were found clogged in the city’s sewage system when City of Prince Rupert public works staff were doing two separate repairs in different locations to a sewer main in the Mckay Street area.
“In both instances, the repairs were required due to failing infrastructure, but local flushing of foreign debris exacerbated the problem,” said Veronika Stewart, the communications manager for the city.
“City crews found latex gloves, gauze, and baby wipes that have apparently been disposed of within the sanitary system. We ask that all residents be conscious ‘flushers’, and do not dispose of any of these items down their toilets and drains.”
While some baby wipes or personal wipes for adults may claim to be flushable, they don’t biodegrade fast enough to prevent pipes from clogging. As for the gloves and gauze, the source of the debris isn’t determined, but the city touched base with maintenance staff at the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital early last week.
The city informed the hospital staff about what they’d uncovered in the sewer while the infrastructure work was being done.
“While it wasn’t apparent for how long these types of materials might have been accumulating in the system over the years, or whether the source was in fact the hospital (given that the same items are also available for retail purchase to the general public), we did take the opportunity to reiterate to staff our policies and guidelines for proper disposal of medical supplies,” said Eryn Collins, communications officer for Northern Health.