Disinfecting wipes are clogging the nation’s sewer systems
Disinfecting toilet wipes may feel soft on the skin, but they’re really rough on sewage infrastructure.
Manufacturers like Cottonelle and Charmin claim the bathroom wipes are flushable, but wastewater treatment agencies around the U.S. disagree, saying the wipes are clogging up systems. From USA Today:
“It’s getting to be more and more of a problem,” says Marty Sunderman, superintendent for the city of Sauk Centre, Minn. This spring, the city had to hire a contractor to vacuum out a lift station to remove a truckload of cloth material.
“Ideally, what we’d like to see flushed down the system is just toilet paper,” Sunderman says. “When you put these type of rags down there, they don’t come apart. They just stay with it all the way to the pumps.”
The same problem is happening “all over the country,” says Cynthia Finley, director of regulatory affairs for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) .
“Consumers are being told by the packaging that these things are flushable,” Finley says. Although the material might make it through the toilet and the pipes leading away from the house, they tend to clog up once in the sewer system, she says.
If that weren’t bad enough, Grist advice columnist Umbra Fisk points out that many bathroom wipes contain a cocktail of chemicals that can cause rashes, itching, or worse.
All that trouble from a product that no one actually needs. Stick to the TP.