Posted on

Watching what you flush can prevent big problems

As many store shelves sit devoid of toilet paper, local municipalities are taking the time to remind people what can, and cannot, be flushed.

Non-toiletry products should not be flushed down toilets, as they can, and have, caused blockages of the sewer system or clogged pumps in the past.

The Village of Cadott wants to remind everyone to be mindful of what they flush, before issues form.

Brian Guthman, Lake Holcombe Town chairman, noted even wipes that are labeled as flushable, are not truly flushable and can clog pipes.

“It’s really hard on the system,” said Guthman.

Derek Braun, Cornell City Works/Utility superintendent, echoed the sentiment that flushable wipes are not really flushable. He said the wipes go down, but don’t break down like toilet paper. Braun says the wipes have the potential to plug up pipes, even in an individual’s sewer lateral.

Rolly Tichy, Cadott director of public works, says plugged systems can cause a backup.

“Basically, the only thing you should ever flush down the toilet is human waste and toilet paper,” said Braun.

Braun also says other forms of paper, like paper towels, printer paper and receipts, should not be flushed.

“Paper in general just doesn’t break down as fast,” said Braun. “...Toilet paper is made to come apart as soon as you start flushing it.”

Braun says the list of things you should not flush extends beyond a shortage of toilet paper. Plastics, feminine hygiene products, bandages, latex contraceptive measures and cosmetics also cause issues with the sewer system.

When objects do plug the pumps, Tichy says fixing the problem can take time and effort.

“You have to manually go down there and take the pumps apart, and pull all of the wipes and stuff like that out of the pumps,” said Tichy. “Put it all back together and get things going again.”