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Don’t Flush Wipes! Wipes are Clogging Pipes, Causing Sewer Backups

COVID-19 Resource Center ,

Raleigh Water is reminding people not to flush wipes of any kind down the toilet. Wipes clog pipes and lead to sewer spills. People are understandably using more disinfectant wipes to help protect themselves and their families from the coronavirus, but wipes should never be flushed down the toilet.

All wipes – disinfectant wipes, “flushable” wipes, baby wipes, etc. – belong in the trash, not the toilet.

“Cities across the country are seeing an increase in wipes showing up in sanitary sewer pipe systems and causing problems during COVID-19,” said Raleigh Water Assistant Director TJ Lynch. “It’s important that we all do our part to protect our waters – please dispose of all wipes in the trash. Toilet paper and human waste are the only things that should ever be flushed down the toilet.”

Even “flushable” wipes do not readily dissolve in water like toilet paper. They can get stuck in bends in the pipes or cling to grease buildup, causing clogs that lead to sewer backups and/or spills. It costs thousands of dollars in equipment and labor every time work crews need to unclog pipes and clean up a sewer spill. In 2019, the price tag for responding to sewer spills was more than $102,600. Most of the sewer spills last year – 25 out of 37 – were completely preventable. Flushing wipes was a major contributor.

Help protect our shared water system  – don’t flush wipes!


This article was originally posted on the City of Raleigh's website, here.