It was the early 2000s when the toilet paper industry decided we all weren’t…ahem…quite clean enough. By 2005, supposedly flushable wet wipes were flying off the shelves, marketed as the miraculous, biodegradable cure for our toilet hygiene woes. Fast forward 15 years and flushable wipes are costing US cities millions of dollars per year to keep sewer systems clear. New York City alone spends around $19 million per year just dealing with wipes!
So why are they labeled as “flushable”? The short answer is so you will buy them. The long answer is a little more complicated. While it is true that wipes labeled as “flushable” or “biodegradable” will break down eventually, this doesn’t happen nearly as fast as traditional toilet paper in your home’s sewage lines. Just go to Youtube and search “wipes clog pipes” if you don’t believe us. Some flushable wipes hardly break down at all between your home and the sewage plant, adding to the daily list of tasks sewage maintenance personnel must deal with and increasing monthly sewage costs for everyone.
But it’s not just sewage infrastructure and treatment plants that suffer costly damage from flushing wipes. If you regularly flush wipes in your home, be ready for the expensive and sometimes disgusting consequences. Damage to your home’s sewage lines from wipes can cost you upwards of $10,000 in repairs, and that’s just for the plumber. If your lines backed up and caused water damage to your floors or home’s structure, you could be coughing up a lot more than that to get everything back in order.
So why are wipes so dangerous to your sewage lines? Because they don’t break down as quickly as toilet paper, wipes tend to get lodged in every turn your pipes take as they snake around your home. Flushing wipes regularly will completely block up these bends, stopping the flow of everything coming through and possibly pushing a nasty mixture of liquids back into your home.
Think you’re in the clear if you have a septic tank? Think again! Flushing wipes can still clog up your home’s interior pipes and will fill your septic tank up quicker than usual, leading to increased costs as your tank will need to be pumped more frequently.
Do yourself, your local plumbers, and your local sewage treatment personnel a favor and throw those flushable, biodegradable wipes in the trash instead. The impact wipes have on landfills is less costly and less environmentally damaging, as landfills offer a more appropriate place for wipes to decompose without causing harm. If you live in or around Clearwater and have a wipes-related plumbing emergency, call Friend’s Plumbing at (727) 934-0323 for quick and affordable service.