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California Water Board: Don’t flush disinfecting wipes down toilet

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Posted at 10:49 AM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 13:50:11-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Sanitizing is on everyone's mind these days because of the coronavirus pandemic, but don't flush those disinfecting wipes and paper towels down the toilet.

That's the message the State Water Board wants to get out, warning that it's important to discard those items in the trash, not the toilet.

According to the State Water Board, flushing wipes, paper towels and similar products down toilets will clog sewers and cause backups and overflows at wastewater treatment facilities, creating an additional public health risk in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Even wipes labeled "flushable" will clog pipes and interfere with sewage collection and treatment throughout the state, according to the Water Board.

"Wastewater treatment facilities around the state already are reporting issues with their sewer management collection systems," according to the Water Board.

"A majority of urban centers are on centralized sewage collection systems depend on gravity and enough water flow to move along human waste and biodegrable toilet paper. The systems were not designed for individual nylon wipes and paper towels. The wipes and paper towels do not break down like toilet paper, and therefore clog systems very quickly."

The Water Board coordinates the state's nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards, which serve as the frontline for state and federal water pollution control efforts.