The U.S. EPA is encouraging all Americans to only flush toilet paper, not disinfecting wipes or other non-flushable items
On Mar. 30, 2020, the U.S. EPA released a statement encouraging all Americans to only flush toilet paper.
This does not include disinfecting wipes or other non-flushable items that should be disposed of in the trash. Flushing only toilet paper helps ensure that the toilets, plumbing, sewer systems and septic systems will continue working properly to safely manage our nation’s wastewater, said the EPA.
The EPA encourages the disinfecting of your environment to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), however. This means never flush disinfecting wipes or other non-flushable items, which will keep wastewater management systems working for all Americans during this time.
Sewer officials across the nation are also urging residents to avoid flushing paper towels, tissues, napkins and wipes.
Flushing non-flushable items can damage internal plumbing, local sewer systems and septic systems. The wipes act like felt and knot together, causing blockages in pipes; they can also break pumps that carry waste to the next phase.
Fixing these backups is costly and takes time and resources away from ensuring that wastewater management systems are otherwise working properly, emphasized the EPA.
“EPA thanks wastewater utilities and their workforce for their courageous efforts at a time when resources may be stretched thin,” said the press release. “Having fully operational wastewater services is critical to containing COVID-19 and protecting Americans from other public health risks. Our nation’s wastewater employees are everyday heroes who are on the frontline of protecting human health and the environment every single day.”