Flushing Sanitary Wipes Down the Toilet?
Flushing sanitary wipes down the toilet may seem like a convenient way to dispose of them, but it can have serious consequences for your plumbing and the environment. In this blog post, we will explain why you should never flush sanitary wipes down the toilet, what effects it has on the drainage pipes, and how to deal with a blocked pipe caused by wipes.
Why You Should Never Flush Sanitary Wipes Down the Toilet
Sanitary wipes are not designed to be flushed down the toilet. Unlike toilet paper, which is made of thin and biodegradable material that easily breaks down when wet, sanitary wipes are made of thicker and more durable material that does not dissolve in water. Some wipes may even contain plastic or synthetic fibers that are not biodegradable at all.
As a result, flushing these wipes can clog your toilet and/or create sewage backups into your home or your neighborhood. Additionally, these wipes can cause significant damage to pipes, pumps, and other wastewater treatment equipment. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), flushing these wipes can also create an additional public health risk in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, as they can interfere with the disinfection process of wastewater and increase the risk of spreading pathogens .
The Effects of Flushing Sanitary Wipes on the Drainage Pipes
When you flush sanitary wipes down the toilet, they travel through the drain, where they may get caught in imperfect piping, which can have an irregular shape or small cement drippings. They may also get tangled with other items that should not be flushed, such as hair, dental floss, cotton buds, or sanitary products. This can create a large mass of debris that blocks the flow of water and sewage, creating a “fatberg” .
A fatberg is a term used to describe a congealed lump of fat, oil, grease, wet wipes, and other non-flushable items that accumulates in sewer systems. Fatbergs can grow to enormous sizes and cause major problems for sewer operators and residents. For example, in 2017, a fatberg weighing 130 tonnes and stretching more than 250 meters was discovered in London’s sewer system. It took nine weeks to remove it .
Flushing sanitary wipes can also affect the environment by contributing to marine pollution. When sewer systems overflow due to blockages caused by wipes, untreated wastewater can end up in rivers, lakes, or oceans, where it can harm wildlife and ecosystems. Wipes that escape the sewer system can also end up as litter on beaches or in the sea, where they can be ingested by animals or entangle them .
How to Deal with a Blocked Pipe Caused by Wipes
If you suspect that your pipe is blocked by wipes or other non-flushable items, you should act quickly to prevent further damage or flooding. Here are some steps you can take:
– Try to clear the blockage yourself using a plunger or a drain snake. Be careful not to push the blockage further into the pipe or damage it.
– If you cannot clear the blockage yourself, call a licensed plumber who can use professional tools and techniques to remove it safely and effectively.
– If you live in Sydney, you can contact www.getunblocked.com.au, a local plumbing company that can clear any blockage Sydney wide. They offer fast and reliable service at affordable prices.
– To prevent future blockages, avoid flushing anything other than toilet paper down the toilet. Dispose of sanitary wipes and other non-flushable items in a bin instead.
Flushing sanitary wipes down the toilet is a bad idea that can cause serious problems for your plumbing and the environment. Sanitary wipes do not break down in water and can clog your pipes, create sewage backups, damage wastewater treatment equipment, and pollute waterways. To avoid these issues, you should never flush sanitary wipes down the toilet and use a bin instead. If you have a blocked pipe caused by wipes or other non-flushable items, you should call a licensed plumber like www.getunblocked.com.au to clear it as soon as possible.