Destroying America’s Sewers

People Who Flush Personal Wipes Down the Drain Are Destroying America’s Sewers

When you get online and type “flushable wet wipes” on You Tube, the search will provide you with a bunch of charming commercials and ads about this nice and convenient product as an alternative or addition to your toilet paper. A nice lady will tell you that the wet wipes are totally safe to flush down your toilet drain because they disintegrate in water in about 15 minutes. So-called adult “baby wipes” can be flushed if we believe the labels provided by their manufactures. Is that so? In this article we will take a closer look at these tricky toiletries and try to determine whether they are as flushable as their manufactures claim them to be.

In fact, wet wipes ability to flush is the real selling point when it comes to American consumers. The amount of their sales would definitely drop if people knew how these little smelly things could harm and clog their own as well as municipal sewage systems. Actually, the municipal waste managers in Washington, D.C., and New York, consider the wet wipes to be a flushable nightmare!

Other municipalities report similar messy issues with the wet wipes – from New Jersey to Washington State. A big city can endure a lot of things, including terrorism, but a working wastewater system is indispensable! All these wipes are literally clogging up the municipal sewer systems.

In September 2013 The Washington Post reported that adult wet wipes and a range of other “flushable” products are stressing aging sewer systems:

“The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission has spent more than $1 million to install heavy-duty grinders to shred wipes and other debris before they reach pumps on the way to the treatment plant, Hudson said. Officials with DC Water, the District’s water and sewer agency, say that more than 500 man-hours have been devoted over the past 12 months to removing stuck wipes and repairing broken equipment. Anne Arundel County officials blame wipes on a 35 percent jump in broken pumps and clogged sewer lines over several years” (Quote).

The truth is that the wet wipes do flush (from what you can see in your toilet) and they do go round the U-bend but the consumers are not told about what happens next. Wet wipes do not fall apart, quite the opposite – they soak, clog up the sewers, causing sewage flooding and polluting the environment. They DO NOT behave like toilet paper!

Not so long ago environmental groups in the UK have started to draw attention to impending danger that wet wipes present in the long-term perspective. They are urging their makers to stop promoting their products as “flushable”. This issue is becoming more wide-spread in the majority of developed countries all over the world.

Read on about a few reasons why flushing wet wipes down your drain will get your pipes slowly clogged, and eventually result in a toilet repair or even more serious drain cleaning.

A Slow, Slow Disintegration

In most cases it takes for about 24 hours for toilet paper to disintegrate in sewage water, keeping the pipes and drains free of debris. However, it may be weeks or even months before wet wipe completely disintegrates. That’s why the more wipes are flushed down the toilet drain, the more accumulation of debris they form and draw in the drain pipes, resulting in a bigger clog.

Tree Roots

When the plumbing doesn’t get replaced in many years, some of the sewer lines as well as pipes suffer from tree roots that have started to set up within the walls of the pipes, forming a maze that resembles a spider’s web. The tree roots get into the pipes through tiny holes caused by gradual pipe corrosion. Too often homeowners are not aware of the problem but the chances of clogging increase rapidly. Different types of debris and toilet paper can usually keep on making their way through the tree roots, but wet wipes cannot.

To avoid this problem altogether, get your old pipes replaced with PVC or PEX pipes as soon as possible. They do not corrode and won’t allow roots grow in; consequently there is less chance of clogging. Call our professional plumbers from Orange County Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning in case if you think about repiping your home.

Septic System Issues

Those homeowners who have septic systems at their property usually experience more complicated problems due to flushing their wet wipes in comparison with those people who use municipal sewer systems. Because of wet wipes slow disintegration, the septic tank is prone to back up into the home, resulting in an indescribable mess.Not only will you have to get the septic tank pumped out, but it will also mean the need to pay a professional cleaning service to fix the damage caused to your home.

While wet wipes are very handy and can be used for a variety of purposes around the home, it’s best to make sure they are never flushed down the toilet. By depositing them in a nearby trash can, you can save yourself a toilet repair as well as lots of drain cleaning along the way. If you feel as if you’ve got a problem caused by flushing wet wipes, don’t hesitate to call Orange County Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning! We will deal with your problem ASAP!

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