We interviewed several California based companies who provide systems for flushable wipe issues.
This first Q&A is with Kevin Bates, JWC Environmental’s Director of Global Marketing. He talked about their Muffin Monster grinders and a new wipes ready upgrade they’ve developed to take on this new era of flushed trash and debris. The Muffin Monster was invented in Santa Ana in 1973.
1. When did JWC first get involved in solving wipes problems?
Muffin Monster grinders have had a role in protecting pumps from clogs since 1973. When wipes started to show up in the early 2000’s JWC was already in place to help.
More recently, as the volumes of wipes in the sewage have dramatically increased, JWC started a research project to see how we could further enhance our products to better deal with the wipes crisis.
In 2014 we introduced our Wipes Ready technologies to our Muffin Monster products to specifically target wipes. This new technology is proving to be a real advantage.
2. Why is your solution the best at resolving the problem?
JWC Environmental’s own research on wipes in the waste stream has shown that wipes have a tendency to weave together when combined with hair and grease. This is a significant problem in collections systems and is where Muffin Monster Grinders are focused.
JWC’s Wipes Ready grinders cut the wipes in two directions so the resulting wipes are small enough they will not reweave. With proper fine screening at a facility headworks, such as a JWC Finescreen or Band Screen, all of the resulting cut wipes can be removed from the waste stream.
3. Do you have a sample California wipes problem/solution case study you can share with us?
JWC worked with the Santa Margarita Water District’s water reclamation facility in Mission Viejo to alleviate their frequent pump clogs. The facility was facing monthly shutdowns of the facility to derag its influent pumps.
This procedure, besides being unpleasant, exposes a worker to potential sticks from sharps in the rag balls.
The annual costs of the problem included $15,000 in lost water production and $78,000 a year in extra energy costs due to the decreased efficiency in the pumps as the started to rag up.
JWC installed a Wipes Ready Channel Monster in the inlet channel of the plant which sufficiently cut the wipes down to allow them to pass through the pumps without reweaving. Since the installation in late 2014 the plant has not had to manually derag its pumps.
Ron Johnson, the facilities supervisor said “While the cost savings and the eliminated safety risks are quantifiable, our choice to go with a new Channel Monster, to me, is priceless.”
4. How long has your company been based in California?
JWC was founded in Southern California in 1973 and has maintained California as its home base to service the wastewater industry around the world.
5. What do you think is the future of the wipes problem for our profession?
Disposable wipes provide convenience and benefits for consumers at an attractive price point so we anticipate that their use will only continue to grow.
The wipes industry will likely make progress on making them dispersible but there will continue to be a large percentage of non-dispersing wipes finding their way to the sewers and fouling pump stations.
We believe that wastewater equipment manufacturers like JWC Environmental will help operators control the problem.
We all share the common goal of safe and efficient waste water systems and we will collectively work to make that happen.