News Flash

Utilities

Posted on: April 28, 2020

No Wipes in Pipes!

No Wipes in Pipes

Toilet paper shortages have exposed the growing problem of wipes clogging our sewer system. As people run out of toilet tissue they may turn to other products. Unfortunately, “flushable” wipes are falsely labeled and are part of multiple lawsuits throughout the country. Technically you can flush them, but you and your neighbors will eventually regret it. They do not disintegrate and are increasingly causing sewers and septic systems to back-up here in Forsyth County and all around the world. Since March 1, a third of all sewer spills in Forsyth County have been caused by wipes.

What is the solution? You should only flush the four Ps: Pee, Poop, Puke & (toilet) Paper.

Kenny Atkins, manager of WSFC Utilities Field Operations, says there has been a recent spike in sewer blockages caused by wipes. “Our crews remove blockages from sewer pipes almost every day, but due to toilet paper shortages, we are seeing more wipes than usual. If a product doesn’t disintegrate immediately like toilet paper does, it can clog your pipes. I know you don’t want raw sewage in your home, so throw that stuff in the trash instead,” Atkins said.

It doesn’t matter if you are on a municipal wastewater system or have your own septic; so-called flushable wipes along with paper towels, diaper wipes, tampons, sanitary pads, makeup towelettes and even facial tissues (aka: kleenex) can all cause sewage backups if flushed down the toilet. They also cause expensive damage to pumps in the wastewater system. That cost trickles down to customers as rates increase on your water bill.

Sewer backups are caused by tree roots, fats, oils, grease, wipes, personal hygiene products and other debris. Wipes can get caught on roots and when fats, oils and grease are mixed in, you get “fatbergs” in your pipes. Contrary to popular belief, hot water and soap just moves the clog a bit until it cools.

Visit cityofws.org/NoWipes to learn more. You can watch a short animation and download an English/Spanish flyer to post by toilets in your home, school or business.

For blockages on your property, you will need to hire a plumber. If the problem is beyond your connection to WSFC Utilities service lines, please call City Link 311 or 336-727-8000.

cityofws.org/NoWipes
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