Coping with Corona: Longing for a fresh tomato sandwich

DEP: Non-flushable items cause problems in sewer systems

WILKES-BARRE — The Pennsylvania Division of Environmental Safety (DEP) is encouraging all Pennsylvanians to solely flush rest room paper and human waste, not disinfecting wipes or different non-flushable gadgets that must be disposed of within the trash.

Sewage therapy amenities have been coping with a rise in non-flushable supplies clogging filters and gear because the starting of the stay-at-home orders in March.

“Flushing issues that aren’t meant to be flushed can harm your personal sewer pipes in addition to the sewer therapy amenities that all of us rely on,” stated DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Even so-called ‘flushable’ wipes shouldn’t be put in the bathroom.”

Tissues, paper towels, and single-use wipes, together with cleaning and diaper wipes, can’t be safely flushed, even when they’re labeled as “flushable” or “biodegradable.” Different non-flushable gadgets embrace issues like diapers, female hygiene merchandise, disposable rest room brushes, disposable gloves, cotton swabs, dental floss, and kitty litter.

Flushing or dumping the flawed issues down the drain may cause blockages in your personal residence or enterprise, in addition to issues within the native sewer system. These merchandise don’t break down like rest room paper and may clog programs in a short time. Many sewer blockages happen between your own home or enterprise and the sewer primary, the place the property proprietor is chargeable for correcting and paying for the restore.

Blockages may also result in sewage overflows that may have hostile results on the surroundings, particularly if the overflow enters native rivers, lakes, and streams.

Flushing solely rest room paper and human waste helps be certain that the bathrooms, plumbing, sewer programs, and septic programs will proceed working correctly to securely handle wastewater in Pennsylvania.

DEP additionally encourages residents and companies to chorus from disposing of meals scraps, grease, fats, or oil down the drain. These also needs to be disposed of within the trash to assist preserve wastewater pipes clear.

Grease, fats, and oil can solidify and cling to the insides of the pipes that carry wastewater from houses and companies to the wastewater therapy plant. Over time, these buildups can limit the circulation of wastewater.

Rubbish disposals don’t stop grease from washing down the drain. Detergents that declare to dissolve grease might move it down the road and trigger issues in different elements of the wastewater system.

Meals scraps, grease, fats, and oil must be faraway from cookware, plates, utensils, and cooking surfaces, positioned in a sealed container, and disposed of within the trash. Baskets/strainers may also be put in in sink drains to catch meals scraps.

Preventable rest room and sewer backups can pose a risk to human well being and current an additional problem to wastewater utilities and workers. Flushing something apart from rest room paper can harm inside plumbing, native sewer programs, and septic programs. Fixing these backups is expensive and takes time and sources away from making certain that wastewater administration programs are in any other case working correctly.

Having absolutely operational wastewater companies is crucial to containing COVID-19 and defending Pennsylvanians from different public well being dangers. DEP thanks wastewater workers and utilities for his or her dedication, braveness, and persevering with efforts at a time when sources could also be stretched skinny. Pennsylvania’s wastewater staff are native heroes on the entrance line of defending human well being and the surroundings each single day.

For extra data on COVID-19, please go to the PA Division of Well being web page. For extra data on DEP-related COVID-19 issues, please go to the PA DEP Alerts web page.

Farmers markets put together

to securely serve customers

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding this week reminded Pennsylvanians that with spring and heat climate comes farmers market season within the commonwealth.

Farmers markets, like grocery shops, provide life-sustaining meals and necessities and have been offered steering from the division for the way to proceed operations safely and with minimal danger amid the COVID-19 public well being disaster.

“Whereas farmers work onerous year-round to push meals to grocery shops, many are additionally working onerous to inventory their very own market cabinets and feed their area people,” stated Secretary Redding. “Farmers markets are a elementary piece of Pennsylvania’s provide chain; one thing many Pennsylvanians have develop into aware of in current weeks.”

When Gov. Tom Wolf first designated agriculture and the provision chain as life sustaining, the Division of Agriculture issued steering for Farmers Markets and On-Farm Markets with suggestions on the way to proceed operations safely and reduce contact for consumers and staff. The steering consists of:

• Supply supply or decide up choices and on-line or telephone ordering if doable.

• Pre-package luggage of fruit, greens, and different gadgets to restrict consumers’ dealing with meals and preserve clients shifting rapidly.

• Supply designated occasions for high-risk and aged individuals to buy at the very least as soon as per week.

• Talk with customers by way of web site or social media to elucidate adjustments, supply choices, or different further precautions to mitigate towards COVID-19.

• Separate stands to restrict crowds and take into account limiting the variety of clients out there at one time.

• If doable, have a distinct individual deal with merchandise and deal with cash, or wash palms and sanitize between duties.

• Take away tablecloths and remove samples and consuming areas.

The steering additionally gives farms the chance to open an on-farm stand to promote uncooked produce, eggs, or shelf steady packaged meals equivalent to jams, jellies, or baked items with out extra meals security licenses.

Along with the above suggestions, markets are suggested to stick to Division of Well being Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine’s employee security order and the Division of Agriculture’s steering for Sanitization and Recognized Staff. Market operators are additionally inspired to reap the benefits of free sources and webinars offered by Penn State Extension for farmers market managers to keep up protected operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a result of the Division of Agriculture labored so rapidly to create pointers for farmers markets and on-farm markets, Penn State Extension and our companions had been capable of develop truth sheets, articles, webinars and open boards round these pointers to assist the greater than 1,000 important farmers markets within the commonwealth to function in a protected method and proceed to feed their communities,” stated PA Farm Markets Director and Penn State Extension Training Program Affiliate Brian Moyer.

Pennsylvanians fascinated about supporting native can discover a market by visiting or by in search of the PA Most well-liked® emblem when procuring in a grocery retailer for a assure that you simply’re supporting a Pennsylvania farmer.

“This pandemic doesn’t restrict our want for meals. In actual fact, it’s fairly the other,” added Redding. “So let’s keep in mind the place that meals comes from, and make intentional decisions to immediately assist native farmers. Pennsylvania’s farmers markets and farm stands provide the necessities you want they usually’re working tougher than ever to offer a protected, dependable service.”

For an entire listing of steering paperwork and data because it pertains to agriculture throughout COVID-19 mitigation in Pennsylvania go to For probably the most correct, well timed data associated to Well being in Pennsylvania, go to

AG to audit COVID-19

enterprise shutdown waivers

Auditor Common Eugene DePasquale this week introduced he’ll audit how the Division of Group and Financial Improvement (DCED) has managed the waiver course of for companies that appealed Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 shutdown order.

“Some enterprise homeowners complained that the division’s waiver course of was too gradual and never clear sufficient,” DePasquale stated. “My audit is meant to assist be sure that the waiver course of is managed extra easily ought to it’s obligatory to make use of it once more sooner or later.”

On March 19, Gov. Wolf ordered that companies that weren’t categorized as “life-sustaining” should shut their bodily places to assist gradual the unfold of COVID-19, which has to date claimed the lives of almost 2,200 Pennsylvanians and rising.

Greater than 40,000 companies sought a waiver from the governor’s closure order by a course of managed by DCED. The waiver software interval ended April 3.

“I’m happy that Gov. Wolf agrees that performing this audit is each applicable and obligatory,” DePasquale stated. “I’m additionally happy that DCED Secretary Dennis Davin has pledged to completely cooperate with my audit crew.”

DePasquale stated he’s happy by the bipartisan curiosity within the audit; Senate Republicans requested it earlier within the week. The audit course of will start instantly and outcomes will probably be made public upon conclusion.

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