Why You Shouldn’t Flush, “Flushable” Bathroom Wipes

flushable toilet wipes
Rob Villee, executive director of the Plainfield Area Regional Sewer Authority, holds up a wipe he flushed through his test toilet in his office in New Jersey. (AP / Julio Cortez)

The increasingly popular “flushable” bathroom wipes has been causing sewer problems across America. These pre-moistened towelettes that are often advertised and labelled as flushable, shouldn’t be going down your toilets after all.

Wastewater authorities say that even though these wipes are advertised as “flushable”, they don’t break down easily as they course through your sewer system.

“The National Association of Clean Water Agencies, which represents 300 wastewater agencies, says it has been hearing complaints about wipes from sewer systems big and small for about the past four years.”

These flushable wipes has been costing municipalities in the US millions of dollars to unclog pipes and pumps and to upgrade and repair machineries.

Manufacturers of the wipes will tell consumers that it’s not okay to toss in regular wipes but encourages “flushable wipes”

About four years ago, a large health care center in Chautauqua County was identified to be using them and was asked to stop Chautauqua Lake Sewer Districts by explaining the problem.

The problem got so bad in Bemus Point, New York last summer that sewer officials have to setup traps (basket strainers) and try to identify the homes from where the wipes were coming from.

“We could walk right up, knock on the door and say, ‘Listen, this problem is coming right from your house,”‘ said Tom Walsh, senior project co-ordinator at South & Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer Districts, which was dispatching crews at least once a week to clear a grinder pump that would seize up trying to shred the fibrous wipes.

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