As some Ohioans search for alternatives to toilet paper, Ohio EPA is advising people not to flush any product other than toilet paper to avoid clogging sewers and septic systems.
Flushing products other than toilet paper is generally a bad idea. Cleaning wipes, tissues, and paper towels will eventually clog public sewers and home septic systems. Flushing these items can cause sewage backups into homes and expensive repairs.
Even in normal times, only toilet paper should be flushed. Toilet paper dissolves more easily in water. Wipes are among the most commonly flushed items which shouldn’t be flushed. Among products and items that should never be flushed are:
- wipes, including baby wipes and disinfectant wipes – even if they are labeled as flushable
- cat litter
- hygiene products including cotton balls and swabs
- medications, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines
- fats and grease
These items always should be bagged and thrown in the garbage.
Even though these wipes do eventually break down, they take a longer amount of time to do so compared to toilet paper. Since the breakdown of wet wipes aren’t as rapid, clogged pipes and blockages occur more frequently. (After) “flushable” wipes are flushed, they can get caught up with other items that are currently in your sewer line. Putting your home’s plumbing at risk for serious clogs translates to hefty plumbing bills for you.
Cities across America are working closely with Veolia North America, which operates and maintains wastewater treatment plants, to educate people about the need to avoid flushing inappropriate items down their toilets. Veolia is asking communities to pay extra attention to what items they are using and flushing and not to flush anything other than toilet paper