Disposable masks clogging Kodiak sewer system

Every Thursday at noon the city manager of Kodiak gives the community an update on COVID-19, broadcast live on local radio stations and streamed on the web. The broadcast typically gives more details about recent cases of infection.

This week City Manager Mike Tvenge noted that there have been six more positive cases in Kodiak in the past week, that two boats are under quarantine and a reminder that the Kodiak Arts Council is providing masks for free. He also encouraged people to make sure they find a mask that fits them well.

And speaking of masks…

Tvenge had a complaint.

“If you use a disposable mask,” he said in the broadcast, “please place it in the trash when it’s no longer effective, rather than disposing down the toilet.”

While it’s a good sign that people are taking precautions against the coronavirus, it’s wreaked havoc on the city sewer system, where workers have also found gloves and disinfection wipes plugging up pumps in the sewage lift stations.

A city spokesman said most of the clogged sewers are in Kodiak’s Cannery Row area.

Wipes, gloves and masks found clogging up Kodiak’s sewer system. Courtesy of the Kodiak Emergency Operation Center.

The city recently posted a photo on its Facebook page that shows a tangled mess of wipes and masks retrieved from the sewer. The post asks people to flush only toilet paper and human bodily wastes – and that even if the packaging for these products say they  are “disposable” or “flushable,” they can still clog up the system.

Since April, Kodiak has had 16 cases of COVID-19. Most are travel-related. Health officials believe the weekly broadcasts from the Kodiak Emergency Operations Center and other community efforts have helped to curb the spread of the virus. So far, there have been no hospitalizations. Here’s a link to the Kodiak Coronavirus Dashboard with more information about the types of cases Kodiak has seen. http://kiborough.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/25d4e24efaae4dc59c727e3fc30d32ae

Check Also

PHS aquaculture students release salmon fry into City Creek, about two miles outside of Petersburg. (Photo by Shelby Herbert/KFSK)

Alaska Fisheries Report 30 November 2023

This week on the Alaska Fisheries Report with Terry Haines: KNBA’s Rhonda McBride talks to …

%d bloggers like this: