Don't flush the "flushables" 2013.01.23

Written by David Green.

Manufacturers of various cleaning products label their items as "flushable." Fayette's sewage treatment personnel urge residents not to believe that claim.

As the number of “flushable” cleaning products continues to grow—ranging from bathroom wipes to baby wipes to moist wipes for adults—utility engineers across the nation are suggesting that toilet paper is the only product that should go down the toilet.

Disposable isn’t flushable, and the push for flushable products—and the resulting problems—has led to new disposal laws in some communities.

Lift stations and treatment systems have had to be cleaned of flushable products in many communities, but it's not only a potential problem for municipal systems. Wipes can catch on tree roots that have entered sewage lines and force raw sewage to back up into basements. If the blockage occurs between a house and the street, it’s the property owner’s responsibility to have the line cleaned.

The following guidelines relating to flushing items down the drain were offered by former Fayette utilities engineer Bob Seigneur:

• Toilet paper is 100 percent biodegradable and should be the only commercial product flushed down the toilet.

• Most wipes labeled “flushable” can plug a sewer line as quickly as standard wipes.

• Disposable products are made to be thrown into the trash, not flushed down the toilet.

• Teeth whitening strips, dental floss and towelettes for cleaning, polishing and dusting can also clog sewer lines.

  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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