Just because something is marketed as disposable or flushable, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good thing for city sewer systems. In fact, many of workers are now begging us as a nation to stop flushing disinfecting wipes or those “use these when toilet paper just isn’t enough” wipes, because they end up clogging pipes down the line.
Those who operate city sewer systems say that although there’s that convenience factor of flushing wipes when you’re done, once the cloth-like material doesn’t break down like traditional toilet paper. After they leave your toilet the wipes continue on their merry way into the sewer system, where it can seriously gum up the works and cost cities big bucks to repair, reports USA Today.
It’s gotten worse lately as the market has become flooded with bathroom wipes, either as cleaning products or personal hygiene items for that oh-so-fresh feeling toilet paper can’t always provide.
“It’s getting to be more and more of a problem,” said the superintendent for the city of Sauk Centre, Minn. That city had to hire someone to vacuum out a lift station, resulting in a truckload of cloth material.
This kind of thing is going on everywhere, says Cynthia Finley, director of regulatory affairs for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.
“Consumers are being told by the packaging that these things are flushable,” Finley says.
So what’s a savvy consumer to do? You don’t have to stop buying the wipes — just make sure you toss them out in the garbage instead of sending them shooting off into cloggy pipe land.
Wipes in the pipes snarling sewers [USA Today]