"Flushable" wipes causing Columbia plumbing issues

Apr 28, 2021

COLUMBIA - The toilet paper frenzy from the start of the pandemic is still showing consequences.

When people couldn't find extra rolls at the store, there was an increase in use of "flushable" sanitary wipes.


However, now a problem from this habit is starting to appear in Columbia's sewer systems and even across the nation.

Pipes and mains are starting to back up from the wipes not dissolving fast enough, even though some packaging states the cloth starts breaking down as soon as it hits water.

Erin Keys, engineering and operations manager of Columbia Utilities, says it has taken time and resources to open some water pumps back up.

"They were having a real tough time with wipes in a couple of them where people must have been flushing a lot of wipes," Keys said.

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