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Posted on: June 28, 2020

Wipes Clog Pipes

Superhero standing on toilet reminding customers not to flush wipes or rags

Safety and sanitation are top priorities as we continue to navigate and adopt new habits in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Monterey One Water (M1W) supports and encourages community members to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for the cleaning and disinfection of households, but it is important to discard disinfecting wipes in the trash, not the toilet. Similarly, if you find your toilet paper supply depleted, substitutes like paper towels, “flushable” wipes, rags, or cloths should also be discarded in the trash, not the toilet.

Flushing wipes, paper towels, and similar products down toilets will clog the sewer system and lead to backups, overflows, and spills. Wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to process these items, and entities around the state already are reporting issues with their collections and treatment systems. M1W has implemented additional precautions to help keep sewer lines clear but requests the public’s support in addressing this challenge. Even wipes labeled “flushable” will clog pipes and interfere with sewage collection and treatment. Wipes, paper towels, rags/cloths, and other items do not break down like toilet paper and therefore clog systems very quickly. Sewer spills can lead to storm drains or the ocean, creating an additional public health risk in the midst of the current pandemic.

Preventing sewer spills is important, especially during this COVID-19 emergency, for the protection of public health and the environment.

Do not flush wipes or paper towels. Protect the sewer system – only flush toilet paper!

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