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"If it’s not toilet paper, it should not go in the toilet."
DISPOSABLE ITEMS CLOG SEWER PIPES!
Recently, the City of Williamsburg has had a number of sewer mains clogged by disposable items as well as a wide variety of objects. Such items and objects cause blockages and backup problems in private sewer lines and the City’s sewer system and pump stations
The past few years have seen the introduction of more and more disposable products for a variety of household uses including personal hygiene wipes. Many of these products are labeled as not only disposable, but “flushable”. While marketed as convenience items, disposable items and personal hygiene wipes may potentially become a huge inconvenience because they may clog the private sewer line on your property.
One of the most recent objects found to be blocking a City’s sewer main was a plastic bag. The bag caught on the side of the sewer main and ballooned causing sewage to back up into a private sewer line. To list all objects that have been found blocking the City’s sewer system are far too numerous to mention.
To understand how these disposable, “flushable” items and objects can become a problem, it’s important to know how the sewer system works. Every home has a sewer connection that runs from the home to the public sewer system. This sewer service line is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain so there are no backups of wastewater into the home. From there, the sewage moves into larger collector lines. Pump stations help lift the wastewater across different elevations in the system.
Why are disposable items and personal hygiene wipes a problem? Unlike toilet paper, these products do not break down once they are flushed. They can cause blockages in your private sewer line, resulting in the backup of sewage into the home. A repair of the private sewer line can leave the homeowner with a repair bill – often not covered by homeowner’s insurance – and a nasty cleanup.
On a larger scale, when these items make their way into the public sewer system, they collect together and cause clogs in the collector lines and get tangled in lift pumps. When pump stations are clogged, they stop working and require cleaning and repair - or even replacement - in order to get the sewage moving again.
Avoid a nasty cleanup in your home and help protect the City’s sewer system by never flushing any consumer item, other than toilet paper, down the toilet, regardless of what the packaging promises. Place the following items in the trash instead:
Disinfecting wipes, baby wipes or any “flushable” personal hygiene wipes
Cotton swabs and cotton balls
Feminine hygiene products
Not sure what should or should not be flushed? Here is an easy reminder:
If it’s not toilet paper, it should not go in the toilet.
The City of Williamsburg Public Works Department can be reached at any time with questions or concerns about the City’s sewer system by calling 319-330-8638.