Bathroom Wipes Clogging Pipes in Local Sewer System

7:36 PM, Sep 26, 2013   |    comments
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CELORON, N.Y. - Who would ever think that flushing bathroom wipes down the toilet would be a problem?

Apparently it is - and even though you may thinking flushing a wipe down the toilet is gone forever, it isn't.

Flushing wipes down the toilet can clog sewer pipes and is causing some headaches for a local waste water plant in Chautauqua County.

What's happening is that sewer pumps are getting clogged by the wipes, which are being used by residents in the area who think they're flushable.

Some water treatment experts say no wipe should be flushed down the toilet, even though it says it can be on the packages.


"We noticed this about four years ago, there was a large health care center that we were able to identify that they were using them, and we asked them to stop and they did, we explained the problem," said Tom Walsh, a director at the South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer Districts.

But, the problem has only gotten worse for the plant, which serves neighborhoods around Chautauqua Lake. Several hundreds residents have been using the wipes and tossing them down the drain, damaging water pumps and pipes.

"And what is happening is the sewer was not ever built to handle such an object," said Walsh.

Still, huge piles of used wipes have been found jamming up several sewer pumps in the Celoron area. Similar clogging of sewer pipes have been reported nationwide in San Francisco and Ocean City, Maryland. Walsh thinks makers of the wipes should inform customers on packages not to the flush them.

In the meantime, the plant has been sending hundreds of letters to random homeowners they serve telling residents not to flush bathroom wipes down the toilet.

Manufacturers of the wipes say often times non-flushable wipes are being tossed down the drain and the flushable ones are okay.

But, says even though the wipes say flushable they don't break down easily. So there is a message and a point to all this -- don't flush bathroom wipes down the drain.

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