One Water Video Reminds People to Only Flush the Three “P”s

One Water Video Reminds People to Only Flush the Three “P”s

(Amy O’Leary, Deputy Director of SEMCOG, April 7, 2020)

I had a moment to relax and reflect a bit this past weekend, but it turned out to be a short-lived moment. After weeks of hearing from and working with local officials from around the SEMCOG region on efforts to serve residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, I was reminded that local government is never really off duty when my phone rang.

I looked to see if it might be an urgent call (like, do I really need to answer this?). I’m really glad I did, because it was my peer from the Michigan Municipal League letting me know the governor was going to issue an Executive Order later that day requiring local utilities to reconnect water service to all those disconnected. After a few text messages and a couple more quick calls, our staff was on it to help let utility providers know that this was coming.

Within two minutes of my first call, my husband (he’s a township supervisor) received one of his own. It was his public works director letting him know that they detected a blockage in the sewer, and it was due to latex gloves and wipes being flushed down the toilet. Similar issues have been reported all over the country.

We have all heard about the problems caused by flushing “flushable” wipes in the past, but now we also have to deal with disinfectant wipes and gloves too! The good news is the sewer was fixed. The bad news is that we don’t think this will be an isolated incident.

As a result, SEMCOG and our partners have moved up our One Water educational messaging to start Tuesday, April 7 for a two-week blitz to remind residents of how important it is to properly dispose of gloves, wipes, etc.

For two weeks, you will see our messaging on the airwaves on Local 4/WDIV Detroit and an array of cable TV stations, as well as sponsored social media ads. We encourage you to share this messaging with your residents too!

Simple steps explained in this video (Also on Facebook).

This message is provided by the One Water partnership for Southeast Michigan, comprised of SEMCOG, the Alliance of Rouge Communities, the Freshwater Forum at the Cranbrook Institute of Science, the Great Lakes Water Authority, local governments, and water service providers, and local governments and stakeholders throughout Southeast Michigan. 

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