Wet wipes and grease make for a mess in Charleston sewers

Grease and wet wipes. It’s the stuff “fatbergs” are made of.

Charleston’s sewer lines may not house anomalies such as London’s 15-ton mass of fat found in the city’s drains last spring, but workers at the Charleston Sanitary Board frequently encounter their own versions, said Operations Manager Tim Haapala.

Wet wipes, thought to be flushable, cause real problems for municipal sewer pipelines. These wipes, when paired with grease that gets into drains, can create masses in the city’s pipelines that can be costly to remove, Haapala said.

Any number of items can cause blockages, but the wipes are one of the biggest culprits for back ups, Haapala said.

“They’re not degradable. That’s the problem,” Haapala said.

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