Municipal Waste-Water Systems Increasingly Plagued With Wet Wipes, Other Nonflushables

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Sewer lines across the country are becoming increasingly clogged and backed up by this product — and it’s something many of us use every day.

Despite their labeling as such, the majority of “flushable” wet wipes are not actually fit to be flushed down the toilet. As a result, they’re creating some pretty big problems for sewer line cleaning workers.

Items like baby wipes, sanitized wipes, paper towels, feminine hygiene products and even some thicker varieties of toilet paper are all partially responsible for the problem. According to a May 4 article, these products are causing major damage to waste-water treatment plants and sewer systems because they don’t break down when exposed to water like toilet paper does.

Instead, they remain in their original form, eventually clinging on to grease, tree roots and sewage to create clogs of impressive size. In 2013, sewer workers discovered a 15-ton sewage clog the size of a bus lurking beneath the streets of London. Removing the gargantuan glob of waste took three weeks, and repairing the damaged pipes took another six weeks.

To keep their sewer systems from becoming overwhelmed, municipalities from Wyoming, MN to New York City itself are increasingly being forced to invest in costly replacements and repairs for their sewer lines, not to mention the near-daily sewer line cleanings these wipes require. For smaller communities, in particular, finding the resources to fix these problems — which can cost thousands to millions of dollars — is proving to be increasingly difficult.

As a result, Wyoming, MN, filed a class action lawsuit against six major manufacturers of these products on April 23, reports. The lawsuit takes the companies to task for “false claims regarding the flushability of these wipes.”

So watch what you flush — it might just mean the difference between needing to invest in a trenchless sewer replacement and avoiding this expense altogether.

Have any other questions or comments for us about sewer line cleaning or trenchless sewer line repair? Let us know in the comments below. Learn more about this topic here. More.




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