Truth about "flushable" wipes

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We know, we know. The package says “flushable.” And technically, those wipes are “flushable” – in the sense that they will flush down the toilet. But so will golf balls, Legos, plastic army men, pens, etc., but you probably don’t want those in your plumbing.

The problem with “flushable” wipes is that they don’t dissolve quickly enough not to become a problem in sewer pipes. In other words, even though they’ll go down the toilet, they’re not truly flushable because they don’t disintegrate quickly enough.

Toilet paper is engineered to very quickly and easily break down into watery, runny slop when it’s wet, which is the only consistency that is safe for pipes. It’s why it’s called “toilet paper.” “Flushable” wipes, on the other hand, absorb liquid (think paper towel) and don’t break down, contributing to enormous back-ups.

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When a “flushable” wipe, tissue, paper towel, golf balls or any other substance that isn’t toilet paper goes down your toilet and doesn’t back up into your home plumbing (which also happens and can costs thousands in repairs), it gets stuck somewhere down the line in our City of Casper’s sewage pipes. These substances, along with grease and other gross stuff that shouldn’t go down the drain, construct what the plumbing industry calls fatbergs, which can be extremely destructive and expensive.  

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Fatbergs will cause backups to your basement, your neighbor’s basement, or back into the City’s sewer lines, and these backups end up costing all of us. City of Casper wastewater officials estimate that wipe removal as well as emergency and daily maintenance costs are around $270,000 annually – a cost that could be significantly reduced or maybe even eliminated.

Besides trashing and not flushing these wipes, the next best thing you can do to help City plumbing infrastructure is to tell your friends and family. It’s understandable for people to flush wipes that say “flushable” on the package, so help us spread the word to keep backups out of your basement and theirs.