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Posted on: April 18, 2020

Don't flush disinfecting wipes!

wipes clogging equipment

Photo - Wipes in Sewer - editedThe rush to disinfect surfaces to counter COVID-19 is causing havoc with sewer lines and wastewater systems.

Earlier this month, wipes backed up a sewer line in Del Mar and led to an overflow that caused nearly $140,000 in damage to a private home. The City is responsible for some of the costs and could face increases to its insurance premiums. As COVID-19 eviscerates City budgets, the unexpected costs could not come at a worse time.

In short: Do not flush wipes. Discard them in the trash. Even nasal tissues and wipes that are labeled as flushable should be tossed into the trash. 

Wipes can accumulate with fats, oils and grease into giant globs that foul pumps and obstruct collection systems.

"Having fully operational wastewater services is critical to containing COVID-19 and protecting Americans from other public health risks," the US Environmental Protection Agency says in a press release.

On social media, wastewater agencies throughout California are posting -- with the hashtag #wipesclogpipes -- news reports and one photo after another of clogged systems.

In addition to polluting private property, sewage overflows can contaminate the ocean and lagoons.

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