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Customers urged NOT to flush disinfecting wipes, paper products

We care about our customers. As many are facing shortages of home goods due to panic-buying, we are sharing this important advisory from the California State Water Board, urging residents not to flush wipes, napkins, paper towels and other paper products. Instead of flushing paper products, place them in the trash.

Customers not only risk clogs to the sewer system and possible sewer spills, but they could also face back-ups and plumbing emergencies in their own drains – at a time when plumbers may be unavailable or expensive.

Don’t take the risk of impacting drains or the home’s sewer lateral. This line connects to the sewer system and its maintenance and repair is the homeowner’s responsibility.

Retailers are limiting customers attempting to hoard toilet paper, so we are hopeful that supplies and availability will return to normal soon.


SACRAMENTO – While the State Water Board and other public agencies encourage Californians to follow the Centers for Disease Control recommendations to clean surfaces with disinfecting wipes to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it is important to discard those items in the trash, not the toilet.

Flushing wipes, paper towels and similar products down toilets will clog sewers and cause backups and overflows at wastewater treatment facilities, creating an additional public health risk in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Even wipes labeled “flushable” will clog pipes and interfere with sewage collection and treatment throughout the state.

Wastewater treatment facilities around the state already are reporting issues with their sewer management collection systems. These facilities are asking state residents to not discard wipes in the toilet, but instead to throw them in the trash to avoid backups and overflow. A majority of urban centers are on centralized sewage collection systems depend on gravity and enough water flow to move along human waste and biodegrable toilet paper. The systems were not designed for individual nylon wipes and paper towels. The wipes and paper towels do not break down like toilet paper, and therefore clog systems very quickly.

Wipes are among the leading causes of sewer system backups, impacting sewer system and treatment plant pumps and treatment systems. Many spills go to our lakes, rivers, and oceans where they have broad ranging impacts on public-health and the environment. Preventing sewer spills is important, especially during this COVID-19 emergency, for the protection of public health and the environment.

Please do not flush disinfectant wipes or paper products down the toilet.

State’s Wastewater Treatment Plants may get overwhelmed, consumers may face in-home plumbing backups and blockages.


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