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EPA Urges Public to Only Flush Toilet Paper, Not Wipes

March 30, 2020, 8:37 PM

The Environmental Protection Agency is urging the public to flush only toilet paper, not alcohol-based wipes that are causing the nation’s toilets and sewer lines to back up as people use them to disinfect surfaces during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Flushing anything other than toilet paper, including disinfecting wipes, can damage internal plumbing, local sewer systems and septic systems,” the agency said Monday. “Fixing these backups is costly and takes time and resources away from ensuring that wastewater management systems are otherwise working properly.”

  • California, Arizona, and Mississippi already have issued public alerts about flushing disinfectants.
  • The National Association of Clean Water Agencies, which represents the publicly owned wastewater utilities, has been warning the public to not use their “toilet as a trash can.”
  • Wipes labeled as “flushable” remain mostly or completely intact after traveling through a sewer for over 30 minutes, NACWA said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amena H. Saiyid in Washington at asaiyid@bloombergenvironment.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at ghenderson@bloombergenvironment.com; Rebecca Baker at rbaker@bloombergenvironment.com

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