'No wipes in the pipes’: Don’t flush cleaning wipes down the toilet

Wipes can cause lots of problems if they are flushed down the toilet

ROANOKE, Va. – Please don’t flush your cleaning wipes down the toilet. That’s the message from the Western Virginia Water Authority.

They understand a lot of us are using the wipes to clean surfaces in our homes and businesses, but the wipes can cause lots of problems if they are flushed down the toilet.

They’re asking everyone to throw away wipes in the trash can.

“The Western Virginia Water Authority’s sewer collection system and residential indoor plumbing is not designed to have cleaning wipes, wipes labeled as flushable, paper towels, cotton fabrics or similar flushed down the toilet. Only substances that come out of your body and toilet paper should be flushed down the drain,” said Sarah Baumgardner, the authority’s director of public relations. “Unlike toilet paper, wipes do not break down or dissolve. In fact, they can stretch, get tangled with other wipes and create blockages in the public sewer system or residential plumbing. Blockages lead to sewer backups. Residents don’t want that in their homes, and the Water Authority doesn’t want that in the sewer collection system.”

Over 37 million gallons of sewer is received each day at the Roanoke Regional Water Pollution Control Plant (RRWPCP) for treatment and disinfection.

This flow comes from over 980 miles of sanitary sewer pipes that are part of the collection system maintained by the Western Virginia Water Authority in the City of Roanoke and Roanoke, Botetourt and Franklin counties. In addition, sanitary sewer from the Salem and Vinton is conveyed through pipes to the RRWPCP.

Septic haulers also dispose of the waste they have collected from individual septic systems at the plant.

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