Thursday, September 4, 2014

Clogged Pump Stations At UVillage Could Affect Laurelhurst Residents

A neighbor sent this information to the Blog staff:

Seattle Public Utilities has produced a video about clogged pump stations at University Village.  It might serve as a useful tip for Laurelhurst residents that frequent the neighboring shopping center and are affected by sewer systems in this area.
What is a clogged pump station? 
Pump stations transport sewage from toilets (in both residential and commercial bathrooms) to treatment facilities. Pumps are necessary to carry raw sewage to facilities up Seattle’s many hills; although such sewage breaks down in the sewer system, other debris (e.g. paper towels, facial tissues, cotton swabs, diapers, personal wipes) do not.  These items remain intact in the pump stations, causing blockages that stop incoming raw sewage.  When this occurs, weekly in this area, a crew is called to clean the clog, and vactor trucks are often necessary to unblock the problem.  If crews do not arrive within about an hour, the clog will overflow, and raw sewage will begin flowing into the parking lot, streets, and creeks leading into Lake Washington.
How can residents help with avoiding the problem? 
Making a sustainable lifestyle change and stopping disposal of trash in the toilet helps to calm the problem.  Although human waste and toilet paper are approved items, all other items are not, including those that advertise themselves as “flushable”, such as feminine hygiene products, diapers, paper towels, hair, dental floss, cotton swabs, wipes (personal, baby, or makeup), tissue paper, and all other objects.
How would Laurelhurst residents be affected?
Laurelhurst residents control these clogs.  The fewer debris items discarded in the toilets, the less maintenance work will be required to keep pump stations clean and functioning.  Additionally, this prevents sewer backups and overflows.  By flushing non-flushable items, residents run the risk of clogging one’s own side sewer, which can lead to sewage overflows into one’s home and those of neighbors. 
Contact Danielle Holstein with SPU with questions at (206) 684-0534 or

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