MDEQ: Don’t flush disinfecting wipes & paper towels

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As the coronavirus outbreak continues to cause a toilet paper shortage across the country, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality is reminding you not to flush disinfecting wipes, paper towels, or similar products in toilets.

The MDEQ says that these items can cause damage to wastewater treatment and collection systems creating clogs, backups, pump failures, and sewer overflows creating additional public health issues. Wipes listed as “flushable” can also cause problems for wastewater and septic systems.

“An increasing number of people are currently at home and consuming more wipes and paper towels than normal. We are advising people to remember that toilets and wastewater systems are not designed to process those types of things, which we consider to be trash. Please dispose of these items properly with your other household garbage,” said Chris Wells, MDEQ Interim Executive Director.

Wipes are among the leading causes of sewer system backups and impacts to wastewater collection and treatment systems. Many centralized sewage collection systems depend on gravity and water flow to move human waste and biodegrable toilet paper. Other items in the system can result in backups and spills that can cause discharges to the state’s waterbodies creating public health and environmental issues.

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