Sewer cleaning services NYC would like to point out that just because a label classifies an item as “flushable”, this does not necessarily mean it should be flushed down your toilet. Hordes of wet wipes are amassing in sewer systems, wreaking havoc on equipment and costing New York City millions of dollars in damage. The wipes end their journey in wastewater treatment plants, hanging in bunches and strewn over wires, cables, and gears like smelly decorations on a bizarre Christmas tree.
“Flushable” wet wipes continue to grow more popular with adults-according to a Bloomberg News article, sales of the wipes have grown 23 percent from 2008 to 2013. The problem stems from the different guidelines that industry manufacturers and wastewater authorities use to determine whether a product is truly “flushable” in the sense that it will break down in the wastewater system. Wastewater authorities claim that the industry test does not properly gauge disintegration. The test rocks the wipes back and forth vigorously in a box of water. The test runs more vigorously than the actual turbulence found in wastewater pipes. Therefore, the wipes are far too sturdy to disintegrate in the wastewater flow. Manufacturers argue that the fault lies with consumers, who are not properly following disposal instructions on the products. The industry claims that only 5-6 percent of the wipes on the market are labeled as “flushable”.
These wipe-related problems have cost New York City more than $18 million dollars over the last five years. City officials and the environmental department are creating bills to prohibit manufacturers from labeling specific wipes as flushable and educating the public about proper wipe disposal. The wipes often combine with other materials like hardened grease to create an impenetrable knotted mass. The amount of solid material building up in screening machines has doubled since 2008. This conglomeration of wipes has caused clogs and demolished gears in machines, which has resulted in unpleasant and hazardous sewage build up in treatment plants.
City officials, environmentalists, and wastewater authorities urge consumers to avoid flushing the moistened wipes altogether, regardless of the package labeling. Dispose of them in the trash like you would anything else besides regular toilet paper. Other items that should never be flushed include:
- Sanitary products and diapers
- Cotton balls, paper towels, napkins, and tissues
- Dental floss
- Unused medications
Please feel free to contact Balkan Sewer & Drain Cleaning for more information on your drains and their impact on the sewer system.