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Wet wipes are an environmental threat, but Alcalá has a solution

Wet wipes are an environmental threat, but Alcalá has a solution

The city has started the installation of special retainers on its sanitation system

Alcalá de Guadaíra (Spain) authorities have begun the work on a pilot project for the implementation of a retention system for wet wipes and napkins that are flushed down domestic toilets and end up in the Guadaíra River. The retainers, which are to become operational in just over 10 weeks, will prevent the accumulation of this polluting material, highly damaging to the local ecosystem.

Concurrently, an awareness-raising campaign will take place

Unlike toilet paper, most types of wet wipes do not dissolve in the water. They are not designed to go into the toilet yet it is a common habit to throw them there, rather than the waste bin.

In times of heavy rains, the network sanitation system releases the surplus of rainwater to the spillways that flow into the channel. However, when these are clogged up by undissolved material that creates serious problems and potential for flooding.

The City Council periodically undertakes the cleaning of the riverbanks in the park areas to eliminate spillage, including that of hygienic wipes. This time around, the authorities decided to try out a more convenient solution based on the simple technology of combs and nets.

The intervention will affect three spillways, with a budget provision of close to 160,000 euros. For example, in the Cercadillos spillway, a double-filter system will be installed. Its first section will consist of combs to retain the wipes and papers and a second one made of nets will capture the finer remains that manage to get through the first level.

While the retention systems are being installed, the local government is also carrying out a campaign that has the motto of 'Wipes into the bin'. The initiative aims to raise awareness among citizens not to flush this type of material down the toilet.

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