“Flushable” wipes in our wastewater system

Empty paper goods aisle.

As store shelves become empty for everyday items such as toilet paper, “flushable” wipes, disinfection wipes, paper towels, and other cleaning supplies, The Borough wishes to remind you that wipes, even the ones that say “flushable”, and paper towels do not break down like toilet paper does in water.  Therefore, wipes and paper towels should not be flushed and should instead be thrown away with the trash.

Historically, flushing of wipes and paper towels has caused raw wastewater backups in people’s homes by wrapping around broken or misaligned drain pipe joints in sewer laterals between the home and the sewer main within the street.  The problems with flushing wipes and paper towels do not end at the house lateral pipe and have caused raw wastewater backups within the sewer main collection system, at pump stations by tangling within the pumps, and has caused mechanical breakdown at the wastewater treatment plant that is used to treat the wastewater and provide for disinfection.

Flushing of wipes and paper towels has become a significant concern in recent times due to the shortage of toilet paper and the potential need to utilize alternate means combined with increased cleaning/disinfection recommendations by the CDC for prevention of COVID–19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.

Help protect your ability to flush your toilet and do not flush if it isn’t toilet paper or human waste. All other miscellaneous items should be properly disposed of in the trash, The Borough thanks you for your help in advance as we collectively work together in these extraordinary times. Our goal is to ensure everyone has safe and adequate wastewater service.