Flushables aren't really flushable 2.4

Posted in 2009 February

The package says it’s flushable; sewage treatment system personnel say don’t believe it.

The number of “flushable” cleaning products continues to grow, ranging from bathroom wipes to baby wipes to moist wipes for adults.

Fayette’s utilities engineer Bob Seigneur joins colleagues across the nation in suggesting that toilet paper is the only product that should go down the toilet.

“Disposable isn’t flushable,” he said.

The push for flushable products—and the resulting problems—has led to new disposal laws in some communities.

One of Fayette’s lift stations has become plugged, Seigneur said, and the treatment system in Pioneer has also had to be cleaned of flushable products. Morenci city supervisor Barney Vanderpool said no problems have occurred in Morenci’s system—at least not yet.

Flushing disposable items isn’t just 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.

Seigneur found the following guidelines relating to flushing items down the drain:

• 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.

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