Increasingly popular ‘flushable’ wipes wreak havoc on utilities


In this terrifying age of black market detergent, ;poop-laced almond cakes, and flammable sunscreen, here’s yet another product that consumers should be weary of: flushable wipes. According to the Washington Post, while pre-moistened personal wipe products — a popular TP alternative amongst potty-training tykes, older folks, and those suffering from various forms of gastrointestinal distress — do indeed magically disappear when flushed down the toilet as advertised, they go on to wreak considerable havoc on aging sewer systems where they clog pipes, jam pumps, and create blockages.

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Strangled by Disposables


We need to re-educate people about what can and can’t be flushed. Toilets are more robust than when I was in junior high (and no, I’m not telling you the year). Back then property owners clogged their own plumbing; today our sanitary sewer systems are taking the hit.

This article talks a lot about wet wipes, but they’re not the only culprit. Like toilet paper, which disintegrates in about 1 minute, some wipes disperse rapidly. But many other items do not.

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What a bummer! ‘Flushable’ wipes blamed for sewer woes


Increasingly popular bathroom wipes — pre-moistened towelettes that are often advertised as flushable — are being blamed for creating clogs and backups in sewer systems around the U.S.

Wastewater authorities say wipes may go down the toilet, but even many labeled flushable aren’t breaking down as they course through the sewer system. That’s costing some municipalities millions of dollars to dispatch crews to unclog pipes and pumps and to replace and upgrade machinery.

The problem got worldwide attention in July when London sewer officials reported removing a 15-ton “”bus-sized lump”” of wrongly flushed grease and wet wipes, dubbed the “fatberg.”

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Cities warn wipes intended for adults are clogging sewer lines


Increasingly popular bathroom wipes – pre-moistened towelettes that are often advertised as flushable – are being blamed for creating clogs and backups in sewer systems around the nation.

Wastewater authorities say wipes may go down the toilet, but even many labeled flushable aren’t breaking down as they course through the sewer system. That’s costing some municipalities millions of dollars to dispatch crews to unclog pipes and pumps and to replace and upgrade machinery.

Kansas City area municipalities warn that flushable wipes are tough on the systems and tend to get caught up in the pipes.

In Kansas City, crews are taking steps to prevent problems.

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New Age Toilet Paper Clogging Honolulu’™s Sewer Pipes, Causing Headaches


Labels can be deceiving, as consumers and sewage plant workers across the U.S. are now discovering.

Flushable bathroom wipes — you know, the moist towelettes for your backside — just aren’t as flushable as they should be, no matter what the labels may insist.

Cities across the nation are finding the new age toilet paper clogging their pipes. It’s happening in Honolulu, too.

“The wipes clog sewer lines, pump stations and treatment plants,” said Jesse Broder Van Dyke, spokesperson for Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

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Wipes in the pipes snarling sewers


They are touted as disposable and even flushable, but disinfecting wipes are causing headaches for operators of city sewer systems.

The products appeal to consumers in part because of manufacturers’ claims that they can be conveniently flushed down the toilet. But their cloth-like material doesn’t break down in the sanitary sewer system like toilet paper and can block sewer lines, clog equipment and increase cities’ maintenance and repair costs.

Public works managers say the problem has worsened in recent years because more such products are available on the market and consumer demand for antibacterial products is growing.

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Wet wipes and grease make for a mess in Charleston sewers


Grease and wet wipes. It’s the stuff “fatbergs” are made of.

Charleston’s sewer lines may not house anomalies such as London’s 15-ton mass of fat found in the city’s drains last spring, but workers at the Charleston Sanitary Board frequently encounter their own versions, said Operations Manager Tim Haapala.

Wet wipes, thought to be flushable, cause real problems for municipal sewer pipelines. These wipes, when paired with grease that gets into drains, can create masses in the city’s pipelines that can be costly to remove, Haapala said.

Any number of items can cause blockages, but the wipes are one of the biggest culprits for back ups, Haapala said.

“They’re not degradable. That’s the problem,” Haapala said.

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‘Flushable’™ personal wipes clogging sewer systems, utilities say


Next time you go to toss that “flushable” wipe in the toilet, you might want to consider a request from your sewer utility: Don’t.

Sewer agencies in the Washington area and across the country say the rapidly growing use of pre-moistened “personal” wipes — used most often by potty-training toddlers and people seeking what’s advertised as a more “thorough” cleaning than toilet paper — are clogging pipes and jamming pumps.

Utilities struggling with aging infrastructure have wrestled for years with the problem of “ragging” — when baby wipes, dental floss , paper towels and other items not designed for flushing entangle sewer pumps.

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Orange County Sanitation District Staff Report


While products such as wet wipes are advertised to be “flushable,” ”biodegradable,” and “safe for sewer and septic systems,” rapid dispersibility of these products within the sanitary sewer system has not been observed. Field observations have found these types of products to be a cause of back-ups within the sewer system leading to Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO), clogs at lift stations, and disruption within the treatment plant. An industry standard for these products needs to be established.

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Don’t Trust the Label: ‘Flushable Wipes’™ May Not be so Flushable


What does the term, “flushable wipes” conjure in your mind? If you’re like me, the phrase on product packaging indicates the wipes will flush down the toilet and break down in your sewer lines or septic system, thus working just like toilet paper. But it appears that’s reading too much into the performance capabilities of these popular consumer products. And I have the plumbing bill to prove it.

About a year ago, we were using a lot of wipes in our house due to a medical condition. So we bought a wipe product that specifically promised to be flushable. They were indeed flushable; that is, they technically swirled down the toilet with ease. But exiting the house through the plumbing and into the sewer system? That’s another story.

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