county-clean-fatberg-image.jpg (copy)

A mass of discarded food fat and wet wipes is dubbed a "fatberg."

BEULAH — Village officials reported a sewage spill happened this week in Beulah and state regulators confirmed it was because of a baby wipes clog in the pipes.

Authorities discovered a 10,000-gallon spill of human waste at 8:30 a.m. Monday and had it cleaned up and lime spread on the area two hours later, said Brady Streeter, village superintendent.

He said a settling tank had a clog that created a backup which spilled from a manhole 400 feet upstream but still on site at the village’s wastewater treatment plant off of North Street.

The spill did not impact any surface waterways, Streeter said.

Scott Dean, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, confirmed no waterways were impacted, nor would any people have come into contact with the raw sewage.

Dean said the problem at the treatment plant happened within a short section of smaller diameter sewer pipe that acts as a restriction to flow.

“Wet wipes flushed down toilets got stuck in this section of pipe, plugging the pipe and causing the sewage to back up in the pipe and overflow a manhole,” Dean said.

Workers used water jetting to clear the pipe and resolve the issue, he said.

“Wipes are a recurring problem for sewer or septic systems,” Dean said.

EGLE officials recommend bathroom tissue be the only paper product to be flushed down toilets to avoid these types of clogs. So-called “flushable” wipes do not effectively break down, officials said.

Non-toilet paper products — including all wet wipes — should be thrown into the garbage and not flushed down the toilet, experts have said.

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