Officials warn against flushing wipes

Many ‘flushable’ items do not break down, causing clogged toilets and problems for sewers and septic systems

Officials warn against flushing wipes

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Toilet paper is on a lot of people's minds right now.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has some shoppers buying in bulk, that hoarding has created a shortage for others, leaving them to seek out TP alternatives -- including paper towels, tissues, and so-called flushable wipes.

(Source: Pima County)
(Source: Pima County) (Source: Pima County)

Why are officials warning against using those products?

Officials say even if they’re marked flushable, many of those items will not break down in your pipes. This can cause clogged toilets and even bigger problems for sewers and septic systems.

That's why it's important to think before you flush.

Don't flush:

  • Diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Flushable wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Medications and Vitamins
  • Household Cleaners
  • Latex products
  • Rags
  • Dental floss
  • Cotton swabs

Officials said a basic rule of thumb is if it can go in a trash can, put it in the trash can.

If a number of wipes are flushed, officials warn they will build up inside your plumbing system at home. That means sewage will back up and seep out into homes, businesses, streets, even local waterways first.

“Typically a home as a four-inch sewer line, and if they put those things down the toilet, they might not even make it to our system. So they’ll be calling a plumber and having to snake out their line. That’s going to cost the homeowner money,” said Jackson Jenkins, director of Pima County Wastewater.

Jenkins added the city is not just trying to protect their equipment, they’re trying to protect the public’s health.

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