NYT: The New York City Sewer System Says Don’t Flush Wipes!

NYT wipes pic

Photo credit to: New York Times

The New York Times had an article today on the damage “flushable” wipes have caused the city.

“The dank clusters, graying and impenetrable, gain mass like demon snowballs as they travel. Pumps clog. Gears falter. Then, there is the final blow, wrought by an intake of sewage that overwhelmed a portion of a north Brooklyn treatment plant.”

The most telling piece of evidence thus far is the $18 million dollars in repair or replacement costs associated with equipment damaged by sewer debris. According to the New York Times,

“The volume of materials extracted from screening machines at the city’s wastewater treatment plants has more than doubled since 2008, an increase attributed largely to the wipes.”

Continue reading the article >

Monster Grinder cuts $78,000 from energy costs


Built in 1977, the Santa Margarita reclaimed water facility was initially intended to provide water for landscape irrigation in the district. During a typical 12-month period today, the facility brings in 680 million gallons of sewage and sends out 620 gallons of reclaimed water. But starting in about 2012, the pumps would begin to lose efficiency as the wipes loading increased. All Pumps, including standbys would have to run to maintain plant production. Once they reached 60 Hz the plant would need to shut down to derag the pumps.

“This upgrade cost significantly less than purchasing a whole new set of pumps,” says Ron Johnson, facilities supervisor for the SMWD facility.

Learn why Johnson agrees with most when he says,”Our choice to go with a new Channel Monster, to me, is priceless.” Read the full case study here.

JWC Sponsors Seminars About Wipes in California and Ontario, Canada

What 2 Flush Summit

JWC is proud to support two important regional meetings focused on what people flush (and what they shouldn’t flush!).

  • May 1 – What 2 Flush Summit, San Diego This event is hosted by the California Water Environment Association and the California Association of Sanitation Agencies and features two separate panels of nationally recognized experts. The first panel will focus on the latest technologies, research and updates about nondispersible wipes. The second panel will focus on public outreach campaigns related to no drugs down the drain.
    JWC is proud to sponsor the Summit with our representative MISCOwater and will have a table top booth to demonstrate the latest Wipes Ready Muffin Monster grinders.
  • May 5 – Toilets Are Not Garbage Cans, London, ON Hosted by the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association this workshop will cover the nondispersible wipes issue. The panelists will also provide an update on their efforts to establish an ISO standard for items flushed down the toilet. JWC is proud to sponsor this event with our distributor Envirocan based in Ontario. We will also have a table top booth at this event.

Hairs the Thing: JWC Research Article on Sewer Rag Balls is Published in WE&T Magazine

JWC wipes research article

JWC’s R&D engineers spent the summer of 2014 mixing rags, hair and greases inside our large demonstration pump station at our Santa Ana manufacturing site. The results of how wipes weave together was amazing.

Inside the pond, the team added a preset amount of hair to the ground material to recreate what is found typically in wastewater. In later tests, grease also was added. However, the team discovered hair is the key catalyst for promoting long strips to knit together and create stronger debris balls. The team also discovered any long strips would congregate in corners of the swirling pond and — once a catch point was added — start to knit together with hair to form a rag ball.

The article was featured in the March 2015 edition of WE&T.

Click here to read the article >

Melbourne, Australia Water Agency Removing 8,000 Pounds of Wipes Every Two Weeks

Yabbara Water District

The Age of Australia reports on the Yabbara Valley Water districts ongoing struggles with wipes and rags clogging up their system. The District recently installed grinders to help deal with the problem and relieve their maintenance staff of the dangerous and time consuming job of deragging sewer pumps by hand.

Pat McCafferty, managing director for Yarra Valley Water told The Age:

More than 4000 kilograms of wet wipes were removed from the retailer’s network every fortnight. Some blockages could cost up to $1000 to clear and that Yarra Valley Water was forced to invest in new technology that “munched” the wipes to help avoid blockages. He said the problem was costing Yarra Valley Water about $70,000 a year.

Continue reading on The Age >

New 10K Series Muffin Monster

10K-Inline-OpenChannel (2)

New 10K Muffin Monster® sewage grinder from JWC Environmental packs tough grinding power in a compact package

COSTA MESA, Calif. (Feb. 12, 2015)The new 10K Series Muffin Monster® from JWC Environmental combines superior waste grinding capabilities in a compact, easy-to-install unit that’s perfectly suited to a variety of wastewater grinding applications. This newest addition to the hard-working family of Muffin Monster grinders is available in pipeline, open channel and pump station configurations that pack big power in a small package.

The 10K Series Muffin Monster® incorporates the same benefits of the larger Monster units, including low-speed operation with high torque and less interrupts. The dual-shaft design actively pulls material into and through the hardened steel cutters, so the grinder can handle a wider variety of debris compared to single-shaft macerators and grinders.

To shred sewer-clogging solids commonly found in waste streams, the 10K Series comes equipped with both top and bottom bearings that prevent shaft deflection. This robust design feature not found in lesser grinders or macerators ensures the longevity of the product and drastically reduces maintenance costs, downtime and operator inconvenience. The smaller particles produced by the 10K units also pass more easily through downstream pumps and pipelines.

The 10K open channel Muffin Monster is an ideal, low-cost solution for smaller wet wells located in facilities such as office buildings, apartment complexes, resorts, retail centers and package treatment plants. Custom stainless steel support frames allow for installation directly at the inlet sewage line on the wall of a pump station or into an existing channel.

The 10K in-line Muffin Monster is ideally suited for protecting sludge pumps, sentive centrifuges, samplers or heat exchangers in resource recovery facilites.  The 2 or 3 hp (1.5 or 2.2 kW) motors provide all the cutting force required to shred tough solids.  Its efficient dual-shafted grinding technolology will not get clogged by wipes or other non-dispersables as is common with high speed macerators.  For added versatility and performance, the 10K Series units are available with 7-, 11- or 13-tooth cutter combinations to fit individual customer applications.

JWC is committed to providing dynamic, reliable products to further combat wipes and other non-dispersibles in the waste stream, and the 10K Series is another addition to the industry-leading Muffin Monster lineup.

Read more about this product Here.

Or, request a quote here

Success Story: TPO Features Cost Saving Channel Monster at California Resource Recovery Plant

The upgraded Channel Monster now efficiently processes rags, wipes and other debris to protect the headworks pumps.

The upgraded Channel Monster now efficiently processes rags, wipes and other debris to protect the headworks pumps.

The magazine TPO (Treatment Plant Operator) has a great problem/solution story in their November issue about our Channel Monster sewer grinder installed at a Southern California resource recovery facility. The grinder helps the facility trim their electrical bill by $78,000 per year by making the pumps far more efficient.

Grinder eliminates wipes problem

Problem: In 2012, the Santa Margarita Water District in California saw a change in the influent at its reclaimed water facility. Disposable wipes were degrading pump performance, requiring all four pumps to run continuously, instead of cycling two pumps at a time. When the pumps could no longer keep up, the plant staff had to derag them by hand, forcing a plant shutdown about every four weeks for two hours and exposing workers to potential injuries from sharps in the rag balls. The labor and the loss of an acre-foot of reclaimed water per month cost $15,000 per year.

Solution: The facility upgraded its Channel Monster from JWC Environmental to a new perforated drum configuration designed to combat wipes and other materials. The upgraded drums are made of durable perforated metal that better traps wipes and forces them into the cutter stack, essentially eliminating clogs.

Result: Since the upgrade, the district has had zero pump clogging issues and has returned to using two pumps at a time. Energy costs decreased by $78,000 per year and manual pump clean-out was eliminated.

To request engineering drawings or flow rates on a Channel Monster, please use our engineering data request >

Sewer rag ball

The new Channel Monster has completely prvented these giant rag balls that were clogging the sewer pumps.

Success Story: Red Rock Amphitheater Rocks-on With Monster Sewer Grinder

A Muffin Monster located in an underground vault near Red Rock Amphitheater.

A Muffin Monster is located in an underground vault near Red Rock Amphitheater. (Photo by Kevin Bates)

Water & Waste Processing Magazine recently featured our story about the Muffin Monster sewage grinder at Red Rock Amphitheater in Colorado.

Jeff Brewer is facility maintenance technician at Red Rocks Park…

“We were getting huge amounts of clothing, rocks, wipes and rags blocking up our drum grinders on a daily basis,” Brewer says. Along with being labor intensive, the process is both miserable and unsafe. “The vaults are very compact and the odor is terrible,” says Brewer. “I would have to unwrap the rags that got tangled up in the aerators and the impellers, and the cleaning process took about three hours from start to finish.”

Yuck! Glad we could solve those challenges easily with a Muffin Monster.

Continue reading the story >

‘What Does Flushable Really Mean?’ NACWA Says New Standards Might be Drafted by 2016

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies added a blog post on Dec 3rd describing the attributes of toilet paper that make it compatible with the sewer system and stating anything that is going to be labeled flushable needs to meet those same standards.

In order for both wastewater system operators and wipes manufacturers to agree on a definition of what is “flushable” they will need to work together on developing tests that will prove the product breaks apart like toilet paper.

There are no clear answers to these questions yet, but the wastewater industry will be working with the nonwoven fabrics industry starting next year, with the goal of completing new flushability guidelines expected in mid-2016. There is also an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) workgroup that is currently developing technical specifications for flushable products.

NACWA’s post seems to indicate the wastewater groups and wipes manufacturers will continue working together in order to develop the standardized tests and guidelines for flushability.

NACWA warns however, until wipes makers meet the TP standard, the wastewater community is going to continue to preach the 3PS – pee, poo and toilet paper.

Two interesting standards NACWA lays out in their post – the wipe must break apart in 60 minutes or less and the wipe must not be buoyant. Okay wipes makers – let’s get innovating and produce a sewer and septic safe product!

Read NACWA’s Dec 6th blog post >


Muffin Monster Grinds Down Pump Station Repair Costs


To prevent pump ragging for good and eliminate the cost of vacuum truck services – the town installed a Muffin Monster sewage grinder.

When Otter Creek Water Reclamation District was faced with expensive reoccurring clean-up costs because of rags, wipes, flushables and debris at their largest wastewater pump station, engineers solved the problem with a Muffin Monster sewage grinder.

The Village of South Elgin, established in 1897, is a picturesque community that attracts visitors and new residents with its old world charm. Located about 40 miles northwest of Chicago, Illinois, the Village’s 22,000 residents rely on three wastewater pump stations. The largest of these is located at the Thornwood Lift Station where flow to the station is about 490 gpm (110 m3/h) and three 40-hp (30 kW) pumps need to move sewage at about 600 gpm (136 m3/h) @ 36’ (11m) TDH. Here, build-up of rags, trash wrappings and other debris were clogging the system and forcing it offline. This necessitated regular cleanings totaling over $19,000 per year…

Learn how they solved their expensive reoccurring clean-up costs caused by flushables >

Channel Monster Sewage Grinder Protects Pumps in Santa Ana


The Channel Monster, custom fitted for Santa Ana manhole, slides down a guide rail for an easy access sewage grinder. (credit: Brian Ige, P.E., City of Santa Ana)

Pumps clogging with debris caused the City of Santa Ana to call for a Channel Monster sewage grinder.   Contributing to the unbudgeted expense in maintenance, operators were having to break open pump fittings to reach the problem area, and pull the rag balls out, every time there was a back up in their system.

“We had to find a solution,” said Nabil Saba, P.E., Acting Water Manager for the City. “Every time the pumps would clog we had to go in there.  It’s a confined space so, not easy.  Every time we had to open the pumps and break the seals.  And every time the workers are exposed to raw sewage.”

Read more about cutting maintenance costs and protecting pumps with this Monster sewage grinder.

Think Before You Flush Disposable Wipes


Photo Credit: Reading Eagle’s Bill Uhrich

Disposable wipes are at it again. The Reading Eagle and maintenance operators at wastewater treatment plants across the nation suggest you dispose of wipes in the trash can not the toilet.   As sales of these popular wipes go up so does your plumbing bill.   Plumbers are quoting from $200 – $400 per visit due to this deceiving product.  Not to mention wastewater treatment plants have spent over $3,000 to unclog their equipment each time!

Recently, the Muffin Monster was mentioned in an article written by the Reading Eagle, “Flushing disposable wipes spurs woes at home, sewage plants”.  Exeter Township Municipal Sewer Plant in PA, boasts to be not impacted by the influx in clogging disposable wipes since they have a Muffin Monster working for them.

Read more about why you should “Think before you flush when it comes to disposable wipes”.


Read more about why you should think before you flush when it comes to disposable wipes.

Wipes 101



We’ve all been guilty of flushing those cleverly advertised “flushable wipes” or pre-moistened “personal” wipes down the toilet. What we are failing to realize is that they are creating havoc for our local pump stations in the form rags. This build-up isn’t pretty…

Aging Waste Water Treatment Plant facilities have struggled for years with the problem of “ragging” with no viable solution for those personal wipes, paper towels and other items not designed for flushing but forcibly advertised as so. Wipes and other products do not disintegrate into the water fast enough to pass without strangling pumps.

We all know what happens when sewer lines are broken and backed up. That brown, foul smelling water and sludge enters our homes and destroys our floors and belongings. Take the time to throw those wipes in the trash where they can be properly disposed of. In the mean time JWC Environmental offers a number of flushable wipes and ragging solutions. Make sure to take a look around the site.

In the mean time, make sure to check out some the related flushable wipes stories below:

Washington Post – “Flushable” Personal Wipes Clogging Sewer Systems

USA TodayWipes in the Pipes Snarling Sewers

KSL.comPopular Bathroom Wipes Blamed for Sewer Clogs


VIDEO – WUSA9 –Too Many Flushable Wipes in Pipes

Here’s What a Muffin Monster Can Save You

How much does the trash people are flushing down the toilet cost local sewer agencies?  Few people know and few records have been kept in the wastewater industry. Until now. Starting in 2013 many of the wastewater associations have started gathering detailed research on the cost of clogged sewer pumps – equipment damage, labor costs, overtime, sewer spills, wasted electricity and the expense of retrofitting pumps with better impellers or installing a sewer grinder, such as the Muffin Monster.

What the data gathering efforts are finding is sewer pump ragging is costing the industry hundreds of millions of dollars in wasted effort and needless repair. The research  has found the average cost of clogged sewer pumps is $30,000 per year, per pump station. These pump stations average about 1-10 million gallons per day (150-1500 m3/h) of raw sewage.

Here are some recent studies…

  • Orange County, CA – $30,000 per year/station – Analyzing 10 pump stations for 1 year this agency found they had over $300,000 in additional labor and parts for deragging pumps. At some stations they are deragging pumps on a weekly basis.
  • New England – $29,000 per year/city – According to a survey conducted by a regional wastewater association
  • Southwest Washington State – $32,000 per year/station – This agency added wasted electrical usage to their cost calculations, while also looking at wasted parts and labor costs. As rags build up on the pump’s impeller it causes drag and pumping inefficiency. Variable frequency drives will speed up to move the same amount of wastewater, thus wasting electricity. As the build-up of rags worsens an additional pump may be needed to make-up for the pump that is becoming clogged.
  • Chicago Suburbs, IL – $19,000 per year/station – When this town’s main lift station would rag up, the sewer agency hired a vacuum truck company to go and clean out the lift station and get it working again. This occurred on a weekly basis.

There is a cost even more important to consider when looking for ways to deal with pump ragging – the safety of America’s wastewater professionals. Deragging a pump by hand is not only labor intensive, messy and costly – it’s also dangerous.

When called upon to derag a sewer pump wastewater professionals are exposed to:

  • Confined space danger
  • Hydrogen sulfide gas
  • Hypodermic needles flushed down toilets
  • Raw sewage
  • Diseases and viruses

In the last 5 years alone, JWC Environmental has installed over 4,000 pump station grinders. If each station was costing a local sewage agency roughly $30,000 to deal with, then with the Muffin Monster grinder, which makes pump ragging go away, it’s saving America’s sewer agencies roughly $120,000,000 per year. That’s $120 million every year. But more importantly, at least in our opinion, we’re saving America’s wastewater professionals from the dangerous task of deragging sewer pumps by hand.

Monsters are here to lend a hand. Can we help you wipe out pump ragging? Request a quote or call us at (800) 331-2277.


New Channel Monster Exceeds Expectations For Pump Stations


For pump stations, the third generation Channel Monster® XD surpasses all existing technologies in terms of performance, durability and reduced costs. The system protects pumps and prevents ragging and clogging problems especially those caused by flushable wipes.

The patented Channel Monster integrates rotating screening drums with proven Muffin Monster® grinder technology. The system accommodates high-flows while shredding solids (such as rags, trash, rocks and disposable wipes) into particles that flow harmlessly through pumps, pipes and processes. Screening drums direct solids into the cutters and are made of 1/2” (12mm) stainless steel coil. JWCE offers optional perforated screening drums with 1/4” (6mm) circular openings for higher capture efficiency. Channel Monster XD comes in three sizes – 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0.

Pump stations full of debris are now easier than ever to manage with the Channel Monster’s larger, extreme duty design. Our taller grinders use larger cutters and shafts, allowing it to shred large solids and handle first flush storm loading. Channel Monsters easily replace troublesome bar screens and comminutors — helping you reduce operating and maintenance costs.  Clean, powerful, reliable and cost effective – Channel Monster is the industry’s high-flow grinder of choice!

From compact – the highly-efficient model 1205, to mid-sized – model 4010, powerful and high-flow, to massive – model 9020 is 10′ tall and handles up to 60 MGD.  You are sure to find a unit that can fit your needs.

“Pumping station designers can now replace bar screens with the Channel Monster so operators never have to deal with solids removal and disposal – eliminating vector and odor problems in the neighborhood,” said Rob Sabol, JWC’s Director of Engineering.