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The original item was published from 5/5/2022 4:52:00 PM to 5/5/2022 4:52:53 PM.

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General City News

Posted on: March 20, 2020

[ARCHIVED] City addresses "flushable" items

Wipes in Pipes are bad

While public health professionals are urging everyone to wipe down surfaces with disinfecting wipes to stave off the Coronavirus, aka COVID-19, City of Huntsville Public Works Director Brent Sherrod is concerned where those wipes are going.

It’s important to throw wipes, paper towels and other cleaning materials in the trash, not down the toilet, Sherrod said.

Even if your wipes claim to be ‘flushable’, Sherrod says they can back up plumbing pipes and create sewage treatment issues. 

“In the past few days, City staff has removed paper towels, hygiene products, cut-up t-shirts, and even socks from the collection system,” Sherrod said. “Trying to flush these types of items will clog sewers and cause backups and overflows within our collection system and at our wastewater treatment facilities.”

Citizens are encouraged to throw everything that is not toilet paper in the trash to prevent creating an additional public health risk during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The collection system was not designed for paper towels, any nylon type wipes, clothing, hygiene products or baby wipes,” Sherrod said. “These items do not break down, like toilet paper, and therefore clog the collection system very quickly.”

When backups do occur, overflows can spill into streets and public waterways. It can also back up into businesses and residences — where the impact on public health and the environment will be even greater.

Citizens are reminded that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Items that should not be flushed include disinfecting wipes, baby wipes, mop refills, paper towels, towelettes, diapers (cloth, disposable or flushable), dusting or cleaning wipes, feminine hygiene products, facial tissues, moist wipes, toilet bowl scrub pads, wash cloths, towels or rags, underwear or clothing of any type, nursing pads or q-tips.  

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