Flushing Anything Besides Toilet Paper Can Damage Our Wastewater Infrastructure

Amidst concerns around coronavirus (COVID-19), stores across the world have been experiencing toilet paper, paper towel and tissue shortages. In light of this, many people have to explore alternatives – such as wet wipes, baby wipes and other similar items.

Unfortunately, even flush-friendly products can put a strain on your plumbing. To reduce the risk of sewer blockages, ensure your pipes stay free of clogs and that you’re able to sanitize properly, here’s a closer look at what’s safe to flush and what you should, instead, throw in the trash can.

Safe to Flush

Toilet Paper

Toilet paper is the only flushable product. Many toilet paper brands dissolve in minutes, and even the thickest varieties will dissolve within 24 hours after flushing.

Not Safe to Flush

Wet Wipes

Whenever possible, dispose of wipes in a wastebasket. Baby wipes, facial wipes and even products marked flushable do not disintegrate the same way as toilet paper, which, over time, can cause significant plumbing issues. Although many brands of disposable wipes are labeled "flushable," don't flush them. The clogs and backups they cause may result in expensive plumbing bills for your home or increased wastewater fees from your community.

Wipes can accumulate into nasty fatbergs, which is very large mass of solid waste in a sewerage system, consisting of things such as of congealed fat, oils and sanitary products that have been flushed down the toilet. The sewer system is designed for water, human waste and toilet paper. It can not cope with more and more items that should not be flushed.

The age of your home often indicates how fragile your plumbing system is. Older homes may already have corroded or brittle plumbing pipes. Flushing wet wipes down these drains can tangle them with everything else already down there, resulting in a clogged sewer system. Most homeowners are required to cover plumbing repairs occurring between their home and the service line, usually along the street. Fixing backed up or damaged pipes can result in high costs for homeowners and your local facilities.

Further, if wet wipes do make it through the sewer system without causing a problem, they can still create problems once they hit the sewage treatment plant. These fibrous wipes can damage and overheat the industrial-grade pumps at treatment plants; this ultimately costs taxpayers as repairs are far from cheap.

Paper Towel and Tissues

Paper towels and tissues are not all that different from toilet paper in terms of their makeup; however, they do not break down the same way toilet paper does. If you need to use paper towels or tissues in place of toilet paper for any reason, consider disposing of them in a wastebasket.

Other Products

Of course, it’s important not to flush any other items down your toilet. The toilet is for toilet paper alone; please use the trash for all other products such as; napkins, diapers, feminine hygiene products and gauze and bandages.

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What should I flush?

Bringing it all together

As you seek alternatives, please do the right thing and do your part to keep our community and facilities clean and functioning.

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