So-called flushable wipes are clogging sewer lines, officials say

Sep 12, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY — They are often advertised as flushable, but Utah sewer officials say moist wipes are clogging up the state’s sewer lines.

“People think ‘Oh, it’s a little like toilet paper so I can use it like toilet paper, just flush it,’ but it doesn’t quite break up the same as toilet paper,” explained Jill Jones, general manager for the Central Davis Sewer District.

During a Wednesday presentation to the Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Interim Committee at the state Capitol, Jones educated lawmakers on the cost and impact the growing industry is having on sewer districts.

“Negative impacts of wipes have increased since wipes have become so popular,” she said, estimating the cost of maintenance due to wipes clogging the system to be somewhere around $1 per person in Davis County. The U.S. Census Bureau in 2017 put the county’s population at nearly 350,000.

She noted that when expanding that estimate to the population statewide, Utah taxpayers are likely paying roughly $3 million for a problem she called sewer officials’ “worst nightmare.”

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