Flushing wipes are a growing concern in Sarasota County

May 22, 2020

The coronavirus is still causing a run on toilet paper. And that’s trickled down to create a growing problem in area sewers.

Over the last two months, work orders to clear clogged pipes of nonflushable wipes have almost tripled from last year in Sarasota County.

Sewage spills caused by these clogs can pop manhole covers with sewage gushers and clog up equipment at pump stations. Photos taken by utility staff show huge masses of wipes, bound together. These can form blockages in wet wells at lift stations. They can also damage sewer lines.

That concern has prompted utility departments throughout the area in recent weeks to ask residents to abide by a simple request: Do not flush hand wipes. Of any kind. Ever. Even if the packaging bills them as flushable.

Paper towels, wipes, feminine hygiene products, kitty litter, hair, and cigarette butts belong in the trash can.

So how many cubic yards of baby wipes and the like has the county recovered?

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