Wipes in the Pipes: To Flush or Not to Flush

Published: Jul. 17, 2014 at 2:50 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 18, 2014 at 9:32 AM CDT
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PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - They are marketed as a cleaner, fresher option to normal toilet paper. Many of them even read, "Flushable" on the side of their packaging, but flushable cleansing cloths and wipes are not out of the minds of everyone once they are flushed down the toilet.

Across the nation, those handling sewage are dealing with a very real and expensive problem, Region 8 is no exception. "They're a terrible thing," said Jimmy McDaniel of Paragould Light, Water and Cable. He told Region 8 News that flushable wipes can wreak real havoc on the sewage pump and lift systems.

"People don't realize that there is millions of dollars worth of equipment down here," said Scott Morton, who works supervises lift maintenance at Paragould Light, Water and Cable. Morton is the man tasked with fixing the problem once a build up of unfriendly products builds up after being flushed. "It causes us a lot of misery. We have to come out and pull pumps and clean pumps," Morton added.

Making the decision to put wipes in the pipes can cause big time trouble, starting in your own home, "From the start it could cause problems at the house. It could disrupt the sewer service there," said McDaniel. But the problem could be bigger than that, "If it makes it to the lift station, then it could mess up the pumps," McDaniel added.

When un-flushables make it to the lift station and mess up pumps it costs money, which could trickle down to the consumers.

To make sure you don't see an increase in your prices and cause unnecessary headaches for your local sewage company, McDaniel and Morton have very simple instructions: Don't put the wipes in the pipes. "Don't flush anything down the toilet but toilet paper," said Morton.

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