Water Board calls for public not to flush wipes or paper towels

With an uptick in usage of disinfecting wipes and paper towels, as residents clean surfaces and their hands to combat the spread of novel coronavirus, water authorities are asking users to throw those items away instead of flushing them in a toilet.

In recent days, the massive amount of wipes and paper towels in the sanitation system have led to clogs and sewer backups and overflows in Bay Area counties.

In a statement, the California Water Boards said, “Flushing wipes, paper towels and similar products down toilets will clog sewers and cause backups and overflows at wastewater treatment facilities, creating an additional public health risk in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Even wipes labeled “flushable” will clog pipes and interfere with sewage collection and treatment throughout the state.”

Because the wipes and paper towels do not break down easily, as toilet paper and human waste do, they can easily backup wastewater treatment facilities and sewer collection systems.

“Many spills go to our lakes, rivers, and oceans where they have broad ranging impacts on public-health and the environment,” said the Board statement.

To see the information in full, click here.