Experts: ‘Only toilet paper down the tubes amid COVID-19’
Throngs of shoppers stocked up on toilet paper and tissues ahead of state-ordered COVID-19 shutdowns, leaving store shelves empty across the country.
But public works administrators are hoping those panic purchases won’t result in an influx of gunk in our sewer systems, causing backups or maybe worse.
In response to the high demand for toilet paper, flushable wipes and other sanitary products prompted by the coronavirus crisis, Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash said he wants to remind people that some of the items advertised as “flushable” are far from it.
“We spend more than $300,000 a year cleaning the sewer system because of flushable wipes that clog the system and create sewer backups, which can cause damage to residents’ homes,” Nash said in a press release. “I fear that greater pressure is going to be put on the system. The proper way to dispose of nonflushable items is to simply throw them in the garbage.”
Along with “flushable” wipes and baby wipes, which the Great Lakes Water Authority explained are not biodegradable and don’t effectively break down after use, Nash released a list of other items that should never be flushed down a toilet or drain: tampons and other sanitary products, condoms, paper towels, dental floss, cotton balls and swabs, cat litter, cooking oils or food — think FOG, or fats, oils and grease — and cigarette butts.