Don't Flush Wipes

Save your pipes. Don't flush wipes 

Many household cleaning products are labeled and marketed as disposable; many baby hygiene products are labeled both disposable and flushable. And while these products may be marketed as a convenience item, the truth is that these household wipes have the ability to clog and stop up not only your sewer pipes, but also can cause blockage and service problems in Ironhouse Sanitary District's sewer system and pump stations. 

Unlike toilet paper, these products don't break down once they are flushed. They can cause blockages in your on-site side sewer, especially older pipelines that may have grease, roots or other obstructions already existing. Eliminating these problems from your sewer pipes can leave you with a nasty repair bill. 

On a larger scale, when these products make their way into the public sewer system they collect together and cause clogs in ISD's sewer main lines and get tangled in pump stations requiring repair or possibly even expensive replacement of equipment.


The following items should never be flushed into the sewer system: 
* Disinfecting wipes
* Baby wipes
* Q-tips
* Toilet cleaning pads
* Mop or "Swiffer" type refills
* Paper towels
* Moist towelettes
* Any consumer item that is not toilet paper

Are 'flushable wipes' really flushable?

There are many relatively new bathroom products on the market today that are advertised as a better cleaning experience when compared to traditional toilet paper. These products' labels indicate they are safe for sewers. In addition to wipes, there are also other cleaning products that are labeled as "flushable" which may go down the toilet but they are not breaking down sufficiently enough. 

Flushable wipes are marketed in a variety of ways, such as "septic-safe", "breaks down like toilet paper" or "safe for sewer and septic." The problem is that they generally take longer to break down when compared to traditional toilet paper and as a result have caused major blockages in sewer systems. 

Consumer Reports conducted a test to determine if flushable wipes really are flushable. Check out this video to see the results.

Generally sewer systems work on a gravity or down hill system. However, Oakley and Bethel Island are both mostly level, making it necessary for ISD to run on a pump system. While a flushable wipe might break down after flushing it is likely that it will not break down fast enough before the wipes make it to the first pumping station within ISD's sewer lines. Even if it does break down into smaller pieces, those thicker-than-toilet-paper chunks can also become stuck in the pumps and leave a big mess. This is why ISD is asking that you please do not flush any kind of wipes down the toilet. 

Currently ISD employees are cleaning pumps of wipe debris approximately 40 times a month. That is a lot of employee hours spent on cleaning up something that is eventually just going to end up in the trash anyway. So please save us the extra work and the spending of ratepayer dollars by tossing the wipes in the garbage after use.