Department of Public Works News and Information

Excerpts from the Detroit Free Press

DON’T FLUSH WIPES DOWN THE TOILET, Officials Warn

While it makes sense to buy disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and facemasks during the COVID-19 pandemic, toilet paper has been flying off the shelves too, leaving many confused and toilet-paper less.

People have already started using common alternatives like wet wipes and cutting paper tower rolls into pieces.  While the substitutes are creative, it’s important to remember that these innocent alternatives will cause serious consequences because only toilet paper should be flushed down your toilet. 

Personal wipes are especially misleading because they are often labeled “flushable” but they can clog sewer pipes and create “fatbergs”- enormous piles of goop, grease and garbage in the sewers.  In 2018, a 100-foot long, 11-foot-wide, 6-foot-thick fatberg weighing 19 tons was found in southeast Michigan’s Macomb County.  This fatberg restricted flows and damaged sewer lines.  It cost the County about $100,000 to remove.

Please don’t flush baby wipes, cleaning wipes, tissues, paper towels, dental floss, cotton balls or swabs, cat litter, grease, prescription drugs or cigarette butts.  All of these have a tendency to collect in your sewers and will clog it.  Remember, just because it says it’s “flushable” doesn’t mean it is.  My two-year old’s stuffed Tiger was flushed down the toilet along with a few plastic army men.  Guess what?

To view the 2019 Saginaw Region Water Quality Report, click here.