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OKC Utilities warns residents: Don’t flush your wipes
The Utilities Department has a simple plea for residents who’ve loaded up on disinfecting and cleaning wipes: don’t flush them down the toilet.
Any type of wipe, even those advertised as “flushable,” will end up stuck in your own plumbing or City sewer lines and cause costly backups. Clogs in residential service lines create an additional public health risk when sewage backs up into someone’s home.
Communities around the U.S. have seen an increase in the number of sewer line clogs caused by wipes since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. While convenient, wipes are made of woven fibers that are treated with chemicals so they do not break down in water the same way toilet paper does. Once they enter the sewer lines, they can accumulate and cause backups, potentially damaging the City’s infrastructure.
“Sewer systems were not designed for anything other than regular toilet paper,” said Allen McDonald, the City’s Line Maintenance Superintendent. “Wipes are specifically made to hold in liquids and not break down, so they eventually get stuck and cause problems for us, and for our residents.”
The City’s advice is to only use toilet paper in the toilet. For all other materials, including hygiene and diaper wipes, disinfecting wipes and paper towels, put them in a plastic bag and toss the bags in your Big Blue trash cart.
Visit covid19.okc.gov for the latest updates on COVID-19 in Oklahoma City.