Wipes are not flushable. (Photo by Christine Sandu on Unsplash)

Wipes are not flushable. (Photo by Christine Sandu on Unsplash)

RDKB: Flushed wipes wreak havoc

Sewer systems are built to handle only human waste and toilet paper.

Here’s the scoop – don’t flush your wipes – or any other store bought product other than toilet paper – down the loo.

All those extra disinfectant wipes, paper towels and synthetic cloths being used during this time of pandemic, will unleash untold destruction on sewer pipes and the processes at the regional wastewater treatment plant.

Instead, always dispose of these products in a trash can destined for the landfill.

“The RDKB reminds residents that they must not throw wet wipes or other synthetic cleaning cloths used for disinfection into compost buckets or flush wipes down the toilet – these products must go into garbage destined for the landfill,” Goran Denkovski, Manager of Infrastructure and Sustainability for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) told the Times.

“Wipes that are flushed can clog sewer pipes and pumps and wreak havoc on our system,” he said.

“This is a very challenging time for the RDKB and for all residents, and our first priority is to keep our water and sewer services fully operational.”

And, just as a reminder, Trail, Rossland and Warfield own the liquid waste collection systems, and service users are on the hook to pay for repairs. So, each of these municipalities is also promoting the message about keeping disinfectant wipes out of the sewer system altogether.

There is never a good time for a toilet to back-up in your home, or the sewer line for your apartment building, or your whole street. .

“But now, at a time when we are being quarantined or self-isolated at home due to COVID-19, nobody wants a situation that would force you out of your home where you are safest,” observed Robert Haller, Executive Director of the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association.

“To be clear, it doesn’t matter if the manufacturer claims on the package label it is ‘flushable’, it is not.”

Sewer systems are built to handle human waste and toilet paper that is specifically designed to deteriorate quickly.

Anything else put down your toilet or sink causes problems that lead to clogs, blockages and wastewater equipment damage.

Any of these situations can shut down sewer systems.

Fats, oils and grease poured down the sink, congeal and line the sewer walls, then so-called ‘flushable’ wipes, paper towels and hygiene products collect together with the grease to form clogs.

This can block your toilet, your home sewer line, or form “fatbergs” constricting the sewers of entire neighbourhoods.

These clogs can also result in overflows of raw sewage into local rivers and lakes.

Raw sewage can back-up into your home and your neighbours’ homes – likely requiring you to evacuate your house for professional cleaning.

Large blockages often require municipal staff to clear them, at a time when efforts and tax dollars need to be focused on critical services.

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