Town Engineer Asks Residents: Avoid Flushing “Toilet Paper Alternatives”

With COVID-19, there’s more to worry about than deadly illness and toilet paper shortages. Now comes the warning about flushing “toilet paper alternatives” down the toilet.

The Wilton Town Engineer’s office is asking all residents to avoid flushing “toilet paper alternatives” like wet wipes or paper towels down the toilet whether they are on Town sewer or a private septic system.

According to town engineer Frank Smeriglio, replacements like paper towels, disinfectant wipes and “flushable” wet wipes do not dissolve when flushed and, if they are, can result in clogged plumbing. Flushing these products could damage a home’s septic system, clogging the septic tank and causing wastewater to back up into the home. For residents on Town sewer, these products could also create a blockage of sewage infrastructures including sewer mains and sewer pump stations.

Instead, says Smeriglio, these items should be disposed of in the trash.

The Town of South Windsor, CT has seen an increase in clogged pumps with materials clogging four of its 11 pump stations during the on-going Coronavirus crisis, according to NBC Connecticut news. South Windsor’s Public Works Department posted a reminder to its residents on Facebook not to flush wet wipes and paper towels down the toilet.

On a national level, a recent New York Times article notes that wastewater treatment officials in a number of communities including Charleston, SC, Austin, TX, and Spokane, WA, have been asking residents not to flush wet wipes down the toilet using the hashtag #WipesClogPipes.

For more information, please contact Frank Smeriglio at 204.563.0153 or via email.

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