The wet wipes clogging the equipment that University of Minnesota’s Onsite Sewage Treatment Program researchers use to study septic system effectiveness were the first clue as to why systems serving adult foster homes experience system failure at a greater rate than other residential treatment systems. Results of a study conducted by staff from the University of Minnesota’s Onsite Sewage Treatment Program at six foster homes in Chisago county show that adult foster care homes produce wastewater that is different than typical residential wastewater, with higher levels of contaminates that may contribute to decreased septic system performance. Bleach and other strong cleaning products for example, interfere with organisms required to break down solids in the wastewater.
Wet wipes were present in three of the studied sites; all the homes have residents who wear adult diapers. The wipes clogged OSTP sampling equipment and were deemed to be a risk to septic system pipes. “Best practices would be to dispose of the wipes with other solid wastes rather than flushing them,” says the study’s lead PI, Sara Heger. Read full article>>
Photo credit: Sara Heger
Animated in conversation and passionate about his research, Tim LaPara is the kind of professor who’s not afraid to speak his mind or tackle conventional wisdom. Groundbreaking and challenging also applies to his research in the University of Minnesota’s department of civil engineering, where he examines the relationship between wastewater treatment and microbial ecology.
An environmental engineer who investigates how infrastructure can protect public health and the environment, LaPara’s recent work has zeroed in on the most pressing threat to modern medicine—the rise of antibiotic resistance in the environment.
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October 14-15, 2014
St. Paul RiverCentre