PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) —With toilet paper flying off shelves in stores across the Portland metro area, items that don’t belong in the toilet are being flushed—and causing major problems.
The personal wipes often marketed as being “flushable” should be tossed in the trash—not sent into public sewers. Water services officials say wipes don’t break down like toilet paper: they resist disintegration in water for up to five years and get stuck in pipes and sewage lines that connect to homes.
This causes a backup of raw sewage. No one wants that.
“They are terrible for our treatment process,” said Greg Eyerley with Clackamas Water Environment Services. “We can potentially have a situation where we create a clog in the sewer system.”
Eyerley said “flushable” wipes are one of the most common culprits of sewage overflows. The clogs they cause can force sewage to overflow manholes and seep into streets and yards. They can also damage pump stations and other equipment used to treat the public water system.
The bottom line? Don’t flush anything that isn’t human waste or toilet paper.