Flushable Wipes Will Clog Your Pipes!

Disposable wipes are products of our society’s never-ending desire to make our lives easier.  However, as you will learn, the desire to make our lives easier is actually making our lives more complicated.  The disposable wipe industry has evolved to fit the consumer but has inadvertently created clogs in the sewer systems around the world.

Plumber Unclogging a Sewer Pipe

In recent years, some disposable wipes are labeled as flushable.  Meaning the manufacturers have claimed they developed a product that breaks down into small pieces so it passes through the sewer system.  It has been found that the disposable wipes labeled flushable are actually holding together, clinging to other wipes, getting caught on objects, caught on imperfections on the inside of the sewer or even transitions between pipe fittings. 

“Consumer Reports” did a study consisting of four manufacturers who claimed their brand of disposable wipes were flushable.   Two of the products did breakdown, while the other two stayed intact after 12 hours.   To make matters worse people get the two mixed up, resulting in both the non-flushable and flushable getting flushed down the drain.   Consumer Reports advises not flushing either type down the drain.  If you do flush disposable wipes, please be prepared to pay the cost of clearing your sewer lateral.

Pipe clogged by disposable wipes

Sewer districts around the world have the biggest issue with the so-called flushable wipes.   The wipes that do stay together tend to pick up debris.  The mass will clog the main sewer, which in turn will back up into customers’ homes.   Districts clean up, as it is their responsibility to keep the sewer mains clear.   That is only part of the issues reported by wastewater districts.  If the mass does pass through the pipes the next challenge are the pump stations.   The pumps do not handle the flushable wipes well.  The wipes tend to cling to the inside of the pump eventually catching more debris and subsequently damaging or destroying the pump.  There is the potential of damaging or destroying other equipment within the wastewater plant as well.

Pump damaged by disposable wipes

The consumer has demanded a flushable wipe but have created more work for sewer districts.   Consumers pay the plumber who un-clogs the pipe or pays higher wastewater user fees to replace or repair broken equipment.  Is the ability to flush flushable wipes down the drain worth the money? 

Please do your part in keeping Duckett Creek Sanitary District rates low.  Do not flush flushable on non-flushable disposable wipes.

Wipes Clog Pipes