Sewer Division

"Flushable" Wipes are Not Flushable...

Flushable wipes and similar products have been a blight for wastewater utilities in recent years.  Wipe manufacturers label their products as flushable, but they do not disintegrate like toilet paper in the collection system.  The following items don’t break down like toilet paper and end-up clogging household pipes, public sewer lift station pumps, and causing sewer backups onto city streets, businesses, and homes:
• baby wipes and diapers (cloth, disposable, "flushable")
• cleaning wipes (baby, disinfectant, moist wipes, etc.)
• paper towels, rags, towels, washcloths
• cotton swabs, cotton balls, feminine hygiene products
• facial tissue, hair, dental floss
• plastic items of any description
• syringes and needles
• household cleaners, cleaning sponges, toilet bowl scrub pads
• unused pharmaceuticals
• paint, used motor oil, pesticides
• kitchen grease and oils
• aquarium gravel or kitty litter
The majority of wipes do not biodegrade quickly enough to avoid clogging pipes.  The next thing you know, you have to call a plumber to have your drains snaked.  Clogged pipes and pumps cost money to repair.  In the case of lift station pumps, clogged pumps require significant maintenance to ensure the pumps are working properly.  If a pump is damaged and can’t be repaired, it must be replaced, which costs even more money.  The solution to this expensive problem is to make sure that only toilet paper is flushed down the toilet. reported in January 2019, a sixty-four-meter 'fatberg' discovered in the English seaside resort town of Sidmouth.  The combination of grease poured down the drain and wet wipes created the gigantic clog.  "In the U.S., a Baltimore fatberg caused a dry weather sewer to overflow and discharge around 1.2 million gallons of sewage into Jones Falls in 2017."

If you like wet wipes, please consider alternatives. Just dampening toilet tissue often produces the same benefits. You can dampen with water or witch hazel, making your own safe medicated wipes. Or put a small, lidded diaper pail in the bathroom with a plastic bag inside and tie up and dispose of wet wipes in the regular trash.  Installing a bidet toilet would be another option.