As Americans stockpile disinfecting wipes and paper towels to clean their homes more often to reduce the risk of coronavirus, California’s state water regulators on Tuesday urged them to keep one thing in mind: Don’t flush them down the toilet.
Wipes and paper towels do not break down like toilet paper does in water. They are stronger, and many wipes include plastics and materials like nylon. That means bad news for sewer systems, some of which already are experiencing problems during the coronavirus crisis.
“Flushing wipes, paper towels and similar products down toilets will clog sewers and cause backups and overflows at wastewater treatment facilities, creating an additional public health risk in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic,” the California’s State Water Resources Control Board said. “Even wipes labeled “flushable” will clog pipes and interfere with sewage collection and treatment throughout the state.”
They should be thrown away in the trash after use, the agency said.