Flushing disinfecting wipes could cost you money

Flushing disinfecting wipes could cost you money
Published: Dec. 15, 2014 at 10:58 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2014 at 11:09 PM EST
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MOUNT PLEASANT, SC - "Your toilet is not a trash can," said Clay Duffie, General Manager for Mount Pleasant Waterworks.

Utility representatives are urging people to not flush disinfecting wipes down the toilet.

"These wipes cause serious problems in our collection system. They actually form huge ropes," Duffie said.

And Duffie says the ropes jam pumps and clog pipes in private plumbing and public sewage systems.

"When the pumps don't function, we have water waste discharge. It overflows into the environment which is a terrible thing," said Duffie.

"Can you imagine raw sewage coming into your home," said Colin Martin, Executive Director for the Berkeley County Water and Sanitation.

Officials say one of the main problems is some of the companies making these products advertise that the wipes are "flushable."

"These wipes are advertised as flushable. They technically will flush, but they will not dissolve like toilet paper," Duffie said,

And when the sewage backs up in a home or overflows on a street, that's when time and money to fix it becomes an issue for utility workers.

"Our crews have to work overtime to be able to clean those things out so what we can work out the system the way it should," Duffie said.

"Sometimes you have to cut off sections of pipe off and replace them because you can not clean them out. That's just more time and money," Martin said.

Martin also says over the course of a year, statewide, millions are spent on pipe and pump repairs.

"So please just take an extra step instead of throwing these wipes in the toilet, throw them in the trash can. Problem solved," Duffie said.