Flushable Wipes Clogging up Spokane, Northwest Sewer Systems
They've become all the rage these days - flushable wipes that are designed to "take the place" of toilet paper in certain situations. They're often treated with anti-bacterial materials, so people think they're "cleaner". But they're raising havoc with sewer systems.
According to Northwest Cable News, Spokane and other cities around the Northwest have seen a steady increase in the number of clogs and backups in waste water and sewer lines.
Officials say once the wipes reach wastewater collection areas (where sewer lines join up) and the water is pumped towards the treatment plant, the wipes are causing big "spitwads". City crews are having to be dispatched more frequently to clean out these pipes and collection areas. Officials say a lot more money and time are being used to clean up this growing problem.
It used to be Q-tips and diapers that would clog up sewer systems, but now the problem has greatly escalated with the wipes. Consumer Reports recently ran laboratory testing on various name-brand wipes, trying to break them down. They dropped toilet paper, then wipes into a water "centrifuge that simulates the swirling action of a typical toilet.
After ten minutes of trying to get the wipes to break apart or dissolved, Consumer Reports says their techs "gave up."
Officials say the wipes also can cause problems with septic systems. Their recommendation? Throw them in the trash instead of flushing.
Marketed as "flushable", these wipes don't break down like toilet paper. Instead, say officials, they clump together and sometimes catch other objects as well.