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2017-02-08 / Front Page

Wipes Cause Hassle and Mess in Walton

By Abby Butler


One of the influent pumps at the Walton Wastewater Treatment Plant is pictured here with wipes caught in the center of the impeller. Workers have pulled enough wipes out of this specific pump to fill a five-gallon pail, a time-consuming and difficult process. 
contributed photo One of the influent pumps at the Walton Wastewater Treatment Plant is pictured here with wipes caught in the center of the impeller. Workers have pulled enough wipes out of this specific pump to fill a five-gallon pail, a time-consuming and difficult process. contributed photo WALTON - At the regular meeting of the Walton village trustees on Feb. 6, village residents were encouraged to think twice about flushing baby, hygiene or cleaning wipes. According to Jason Craig and Delaware Engineering’s Bill Brown, the wipes take a severe toll on wastewater treatment plant equipment.

The wipes impact the influent pump, which pumps water through the whole plant, and the return sludge pump, which pumps sludge from the clarifiers. Workers also have to skim wipes from the clarifiers, where the wipes will float and collect. Craig explained that workers check both pumps approximately twice a week and frequently pull out enough wipes to fill a five-gallon pail. When skimming wipes from the clarifiers, workers have filled two backhoe buckets.

Brown explained that both pumps have to be taken out and cleaned by hand, which takes multiple hours each time. “The wipes, even if they say they are flushable, cause extreme wear and tear on the pumps,” Brown said. “Flushable basically just means that the wipe will make it down the toilet and out of the house, but it still gets caught up once it gets to the wastewater treatment plant.”

In other business:

• Paula O’Brien was present during the public comment section to the board and gave the assembled audience an update on the efforts of the Walton Theater Preservation Association. Multiple upgrades were made in 2016, O’Brien explained, including the installation of a handicap ramp and lighted signs, an electrical upgrade and backstage railings. Looking to 2017, the preservation association hopes to purchase new stage curtains, upgrade sound equipment and possibly extend the stage to make way for the grand piano, among other things. O’Brien thanked the village, residents and volunteers for their ongoing support.

• Mayor Ed Snow read a statement to clarify assertions that were made at the Walton Central School Board of Education meeting about the levels of lead in village water. Snow explained that the village has no violations regarding the levels of lead or iron in the water. In 2015, ten samples were taken at various locations in the village and one sample was taken from a faucet that had not been used in quite a while and, as a result of the sediments in the unused pipes, the action levels for lead and iron were exceeded for that one sample. However, Snow said, the one isolated sample did not affect the general water system and no violations were found by the New York State Department of Health. “The Village of Walton has a water system that is safe, healthy and one of the best in the state,” Snow asserted.

• Walton Police Chief Paul Olsen informed the trustees that the new in-car computer system has been installed and the recalibration of the tablets is nearly completed. Approximately $1,300 was expended for a new server for the department and $100 to install a pump for the boiler. Olsen also explained that the department received a patrol rifle grant for $1,660, which will be used to purchase two patrol rifles. The board approved the purchase of the rifles immediately.

• Two public hearings will be held at the March meeting of the board: One for alterations to zoning regulations regarding stream dumping, and one for a local law that would allow the village to foreclose on properties after their taxes are two years past due, instead of three.

The Walton Village Board will hold its next meeting on March 6 at 6 p.m.

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