Wipes flushed in toilets cause big waste spill in small Michigan town

Issue caused backup of 10,000 gallons of human waste from manhole

Michigan (WDIV)

BEULAH, Mich. – Small town, big mess.

Baby wipes clogged the wastewater system in Beulah in northern Michigan, causing a backup of 10,000 gallons of human waste from a manhole, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.

The spill was on the grounds of the village's wastewater treatment plant. Superintendent Brady Streeter said it was cleaned up within a few hours Monday.

“Wipes are a recurring problem for sewer or septic systems,” said Scott Dean, a spokesman at the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

Indeed, in May, Macomb County in suburban Detroit said it had been removing 4,000 pounds of wipes a week at one pump station. Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller wants Congress to talk to manufacturers and take action.

Miller said so-called flushable wipes aren’t breaking down.