Clump of flushable wipes, diapers clogs Hopkins sewer

Some wipes may be labeled "flushable," but officials at the City of Hopkins say they don't belong down the drain.

"It's just a disaster," said Ismail Eddihi, Hopkins utilities superintendent.

It's the sort stinky, smelly mess you hope to never see. A mixture of supposedly flushable items and oily fat, backed up Hopkins sewer line and sent dirty water pouring onto the street.

"We picked out four or five gallon buckets of diapers, rags and flushable wipes," said Eddihi.

Hopkins city officials say the call came in on September 8. Gray water reportedly came from a manhole near the intersection of 11th Avenue and 10th Street.

City officials say essentially it was a perfect storm of adult wipes and flushable diapers coming down the sewer line, all of it bonded together by insoluble fat. 

"This is the first time I see damage like this," said Eddihi.

Flushable wipes and diapers have caused problems before. Worldwide, city governments are trying to convince people not to flush. The wad of wipes and fat can harden, blocking lines and even causing homes to flood. The backups can damage infrastructure and cost thousands to clean up.

"Diapers and wipes and rags, they are not flushable,” said Eddihi. “You can dispose of them properly by throwing them in the trash."