Apr 29, 2020

The City of Santa Barbara urges the community to throw wipes into the trash rather than flushing them down the toilet. City Wastewater staff has seen a substantial increase in the number of wipes and paper towels since the COVID-19 pandemic began. These products do not break down and often get stuck in pipes which increases the risk of private sewer spills. In fact, wipes recently caused a costly blockage at a multi-unit housing property on the mesa, resulting in a walking path closure and community exposure to raw wastewater.  In addition to the environmental impact, the costs to the property owner to repair the blockage can easily run thousands of dollars.

Flushing wipes, paper towels, or similar items can cause costly damage to private plumbing and the City’s sewer system. Even wipes that are labeled as “flushable” and “septic–safe” do not degrade in the sewer system, and, when mixed with fats, oils, and grease, can cause blockage in pipes that may result in sewer spills.

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