Good Flushing Practices Linked to Public Health and Sanitation

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Provided by Stafford County

Note: While this story was submitted by Stafford County, Virginia, items discussed in the article are applicable everywhere.

Cleaning wipes, flushable wipes, paper towels and rags are found in sanitary sewers at an alarming rate. These items cause major issues with sewer collection systems. Public Works employees are working hard to continue proactive operation and maintenance of the water and wastewater treatment facilities. Stafford’s Director of Public Works says that flushing wipes, even those labeled flushable, can lead to sewer backups and plumbing issues. Crews have already responded to calls for the cleanup of sewer backups caused by the improper disposal of wipes. If you use wipes, put them in the wastebasket after use.

Water and wastewater services are extremely important for the protection of public health and to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Water is essential to everyone and we all play a role in wastewater treatment. To help keep the public safe and sewer systems functioning properly, the following products should not be flushed:

  • Baby wipes or cleaning wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Tissues
  • Dental Floss
  • Tampons and sanitary products

Unlike toilet paper, these products do not break down once they are flushed. When these products make their way into the public sewer system, they clump together, causing very large clogs in the sewer lines. These products also get tangled in pump stations, requiring repair of equipment. Potential backups and discharges of raw sewage into homes, businesses and local waterways could happen.  If you experience a clogged pipe in your home, call a plumber.


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