Flushable Wipes Cause Sewer Overflow in Silver Spring

Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) stopped a sanitary sewer overflow in a wooded area of Silver Spring on April 20.

The overflow occurred at the 300 block of Hillsboro Drive, beginning at around 7:10 p.m. on April 20 and ending around 12:10 p.m. on April 21. The total volume of the overflow was 10,200 gallons of untreated wastewater, according to a WSCC press release.

The overflow was caused by an excess amount of flushable wipes. The wipes clogged the sewer which leads the water to flow into a nearby creek.

The overflow did not contaminate WSSC’s drinking water according to the press release. The water and wastewater systems are different.

Although many wipes are marketed as “flushable,” the products do not break down and disintegrate as toilet paper does. As these wipes accumulate, they can cause blocks in sewers mains, forcing water to be directed to waterways and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.

Due to the sewage pipe’s location in a densely wooded area, the repair equipment had to be carried by hand. Residents are urged to follow notices to avoid the area as crews continue to clean up the area.

WSSC Water has made appropriate notifications to the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Montgomery County Health Department.

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About Rachel Clair

Rachel Clair is a Senior at the University of Maryland studying Government and Journalism. She is interning at My MC Media for the spring months before graduation. In the fall, she will attend law school.

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