Sewers everywhere are stopped up and there is plenty of blame to go around from personal carelessness to faulty products.
For one thing, people think that any thin cleaning wipe or baby wipe can be flushed down the toilet. How wrong they are.
The reason is simply that, unlike toilet paper, these other materials do not dissolve. Instead they clog up the sewers, damage equipment, and cost cities and taxpayers a lot of time and money.
In one city, they had to hire a contractor to vacuum out a lift station and remove a truckload of cloth material. It’s happening all over the country.
The Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry says researchers collected and analyzed materials from wastewater pumps and found that most items clogging equipment are not labeled flushable.
These items, experts suggest, should be more clearly labeled Do Not Flush.
Kimberly-Clark’s flushable Cottonelle cloths undergo extensive testing to ensure they are compatible with home and city sewer systems. However, some flushables do not comply.
Some companies have heavily promoted bathroom wipes, while some cleaning product manufacturers have also advertised sponges they say can be disposed of in a toilet.
A Consumer Reports test showed that toilet paper disintegrated after about eight seconds, but some wipes still hadn’t broken down after 30 minutes. They should never have been classified as flushable.