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‘Flushable’ wipes clog pipes

By From page A3 | November 06, 2013

Toilet paper dissolves in a matter of seconds once it gets flushed. Sanitary wipes are a different story.

The truth is, sanitary wipes that are often labeled as “flushable” are anything but. Items like baby wipes, disinfectant cleaning wipes, sanitary hand wipes and the like contain oils and lotions and do not break down like toilet paper, no matter what the packaging says.

Sanitary wipes get caught in the system and can cause blockages or sewer overflows. Once they’re flushed down the toilet they can get caught on roots and grease and other debris inside the pipeline.

“Recently in El Dorado Hills we had a sewage spill that was found to be caused, in large part, by disposable wipes,” said Vickie Caulfield, EID wastewater operations manager.

Since any sewage spill is considered a violation of California regulations, they can result not only in extra maintenance costs, but fines, and potential disruptions in service as well.

“Flushing disposable wipes is a convenience that has the potential to result in costly maintenance or property damage,” said Caulfield. “Please put them in the trash instead. The only things that should be flushed down the toilet are urine, feces and toilet paper.”

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