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Plumbing experts throughout the United States have reported an increase in home plumbing problems caused by sanitizing and “flushable” wipes, paper towels, mop refills and similar items being disposed of in the toilet. The Regional Water Authority’s PipeSafe Protection Program Team has responded to a number of problems caused by these items clogging home plumbing, sewer and septic systems. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other experts recommend using sanitizing wipes to slow the spread of COVID-19, those wipes and other cleaning items should be disposed of in the trash.
Paper towels and sanitizing wipes do not dissolve when flushed. This is true even for wipes labeled “flushable.” Home plumbing systems are not designed to handle these items, which can lead to them creating blockages in pipes, causing wastewater to back up into the home. Wipes can also clog home septic tanks and sewer infrastructure. No matter what kind of wastewater system a homeowner uses, it is not safe to flush wipes or paper towels.
The RWA’s PipeSafe Team has seen a substantial uptick in plumbing damage in the Greater New Haven region caused by the flushing of sanitizing wipes and similar items. Many water, sewer and septic blockages occur between the house and the sewer main, where the property owner is responsible for correcting and paying for the repair. The damage caused by these problems can be significant and emergency repairs can be stressful and costly without a homeowner protection program like the RWA’s PipeSafe plan. Residents are strongly encouraged to protect their plumbing and remember: wipes clog pipes.