Careful! Those ‘flushable’ wipes aren’t

Aug 6, 2019

After finding 22 gallons of wipes clogging a sewer main on July 11, Boothbay Harbor Sewer District Superintendent Chris Higgins is continuing to spread the word that they are not “flushable” – despite the advertising and package labeling.

“They don’t tear because they are made of a woven product with a polyester base and when they get into a pump they act like a rubber band in scissors,” he explained to the Boothbay Register. “Toilet paper falls apart in seven seconds, paper towels fall apart in 30 minutes, but wipes stay together forever.”

The recent blockage on Tupper Road in Boothbay Harbor was caused by cleaning wipes and baby wipes and took a two-man crew 30 minutes to clean out, costing what Higgins estimated to be $1,000 in labor and equipment.

Sewer line blockages usually don’t happen, according to Higgins. “This one was in the main and we don’t get that many because we regularly clean the lines. Twenty-two gallons is a lot. We’ve never had an issue on that stretch of pipes.”

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