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Flushing Wipes Causes Damage to Sewer Systems

For Public Health and Safety

Post Date:04/02/2020

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With new reports of overwhelmed pump stations the City of Hernando is urging the community to refrain from flushing disinfectant wipes, baby wipes and cotton products, including those labeled “flushable." These items should be thrown in the trash.  It is very important for proper functioning of our waste water treatment facilities to protect the public health from viruses and bacteria from getting into your homes, roadways and waterways.  Flushing these products can lead to overflows.  Even though some of these products are labeled as “flushable,” most wipes are made with fine plastic mesh that doesn’t break down in water as toilet paper does. These products are clogging and damaging wastewater pumps and sewer lines in the City of Hernando. 

MDEQ Advises People to NOT Flush Disinfecting Wipes and Paper Towels

Posted: March 23, 2020

(JACKSON, Miss.) – The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is advising people to not flush disinfecting wipes, paper towels, or similar products in toilets but to dispose of them in household garbage. These items can cause damage to wastewater treatment and collection systems creating clogs, backups, pump failures, and sewer overflows creating additional public health issues. Wipes listed as “flushable” can also cause problems for wastewater and septic systems.

“An increasing number of people are currently at home and consuming more wipes and paper towels than normal. We are advising people to remember that toilets and wastewater systems are not designed to process those types of things, which we consider to be trash. Please dispose of these items properly with your other household garbage,” said Chris Wells, MDEQ Interim Executive Director.

Wipes are among the leading causes of sewer system backups and impacts to wastewater collection and treatment systems. Many centralized sewage collection systems depend on gravity and water flow to move human waste and biodegradable toilet paper. Other items in the system can result in backups and spills that can cause discharges to the state’s waterbodies creating public health and environmental issues.

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