Who could have predicted that toilet paper would have been the perfect gift this past holiday season?! We are definitely living in unusual times and as professional plumbers, we’ve seen some strange things lately. We understand you might be running low on toilet paper, but you still need to avoid flushing anything but toilet paper down your toilet. Even if something can flush easily down the toilet, it doesn’t mean it should.
States across the U.S. have reported an increase in sewer problems due to the large number of people flushing materials they shouldn’t. “Flushing wipes, paper towels, and similar products down toilets will clog sewers and cause backups and overflows at wastewater treatment facilities, creating an additional public health risk in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.” 1 “This concern has prompted utility departments throughout the area (Florida) and around the nation to ask residents to abide by a simple request: Do not flush hand wipes. Of any kind. Ever.” 2
Even so-called “flushable” wipes can cause serious issues. Both “flushable” and “unflushable” wipes end up combining into massive clumps, which then clog pumps that move wastewater from your home to the treatment plant. These clogged pumps can fail resulting in very expensive and time-consuming repairs as well as create an increased chance of wastewater backups that can spill into your homes or out onto the street.2 Wipes can also create clogs in your own plumbing system requiring you to call a plumber to fix the problem.
Utility leaders assert “flushing toilet paper substitutes down the drain is no laughing matter.” “They clog the pipes. They clog the pumps,” said Chris Helfrich, Boca Raton’s director of utility services in a recent article in The Palm Beach Post. “They cause backups into commercial (property), residential (homes), restaurants — sewage, raw sewage backups.” 3
These unprecedented times we’re living in could get a lot worse if we start using products in our toilet that are not meant to be flushed. The problems caused by toilet paper substitutes will be a lot worse than running low on toilet paper.
Michael’s Plumbing is your local plumbing expert, and we want to be there in your time of need. If you live in the Orlando area and have any questions or problems, we can help with during this difficult time, feel free to give us a call at (407) 219-9772 or visit us online.
1 Kaur, Harmeet. “Disinfecting Wipes Are Being Flushed down Toilets and Causing Major Pipe Problems.” CNN, Cable News Network, 20 Mar. 2020, www.cnn.com/2020/03/20/us/wipes-flush-toilet-pipes-wellness-trnd/index.html.
2 Jr, Michael Moore. “Coronavirus Florida: ‘Flushable’ Wipes Are Not Safe to Flush.” Tribune, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 25 Mar. 2020, www.heraldtribune.com/news/20200325/coronavirus-florida-lsquoflushablersquo-wipes-are-not-safe-to-flush.
3 Howard, Sam. “Coronavirus Florida: Even If You’re out of Toilet Paper, PBC Leaders Beg – Don’t Flush Wet Wipes.” The Palm Beach Post, The Palm Beach Post, 25 Mar. 2020, www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20200325/coronavirus-florida-even-if-yoursquore-out-of-toilet-paper-pbc-leaders-beg—donrsquot-flush-wet-wipes.