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The Selectmen heard about the town's wipes troubles and extended an agreement for inspection services with New Ashford.

Adams Wastewater Plant Getting Clogged Up With 'Flushables'

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — So-called flushable wipes are continuing to clog up and damage the town's wastewater treatment plant and cost taxpayers money.
 
"I know I have said this before but please do not flush wipes down the pipes," Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco said at Wednesday's broadcast Selectmen's meeting. "They are costing us thousands of dollars a year in damage to the wastewater treatment system that is getting older and rustier every year."  
 
It's a problem facing numerous towns and cities, he said. "I have been working with my colleagues and we are going to reach out to the attorney general's office because we are not the only community facing this."
 
South Deerfield reports that the wipes have cost anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 a year in preventable maintenance costs. A Connecticut town last year was expecting to shell out $40,000 on grinders that were regularly getting clogged up from the wipes.
 
The sanitary wipes are supposed to break down but that takes time and varies between products. Instead, they can glom together creating "fatbergs" that clog up systems. A fatberg just discovered in the London sewers made up of congealed wipes and grease, diapers, and other items weighs 140 tons and is expected to take three weeks to remove.
 
Mazzucco said a law firm is forming a class action suit against the manufacturers of the wipes who advertise them as flushable. 
 
There isn't much the town can do to flush out the culprits, but it can point out problem neighborhoods that seem to cause the most damage. 
 
"We are going to start targeting neighborhoods where we see high instances of the wipes and send them letters," he said. "It is taking man hours every single day to deal with this and it is lessening the lifetime of our equipment."  
 
In other business, the Selectmen voted to renew an agreement with New Ashford to share the town's building department.
 
"It is a great little agreement and we can help out New Ashford and make a little money in the process," Mazzucco told the board. "The process has led to further collaboration between the towns. It is quick and easy and we want to continue with it."
 
Mazzucco said the town made $940 through the agreement. Selectman Joseph Nowak said he had no issue with the arrangement as long as it does not cut into Adams business.  
 
"Anything we can do to help another community and make a little money doing it is fine with me," Nowak said.

Tags: building inspector,   treatment plant,   wastewater,   

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