For second time, ‘flushable wipes’ cause major clog at Charleston Water System

Published: Jun. 19, 2019 at 7:20 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Flushable wipes may seem like a thing of the past once you leave the bathroom.

But for Charleston Water System, a nearly 4-foot clog of wipes in their treatment plant says otherwise.

This week, divers from Charleston water System removed another massive clog of flushable wipes. This is the second mound of wipes that divers pulled out of the treatment plant pipes since October.

Before these piles reach that point, they often cause major problems for homeowners.

Charleston Water System officials says in most cases flushable wipes aren’t flushable.

And plumbers say it’s nearly equivalent to flushing a T-shirt down the toilet.

Adam Flarherty from Preferred Home Services says his company sees backups from wipes on a daily basis and when it happens you won’t be able to use your toilet, shower or sinks.

"If you use them it's only a matter of time and you are going to get a whole house back-up," he says. "Now you’re waiting on an after-hours technician to come out and typically there’s an extra cost for that. Then you’re hoping they can gain access to your sewer line; if you don’t have an access, that’s going to add to that cost."

He says homes with cast iron pipes are more likely to have clogs than homes with PVC pipes.

“If you use them it’s only a matter of time and you are going to get a whole-house backup,” Flarherty says. “But ultimately if you keep it out of the toilet, chances are you’ll never need us. An easy rule of thumb is if it doesn’t come out of you and it’s not toilet paper then don’t use it.”

Flaherty says an emergency call for sewage systems clogged by wipes can rack up a bill as high as $10,000.

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