Water Departments Urge People Not To Flush Sanitary Wipes


Thursday, January 21st 2021, 9:22 pm
By: Grant Stephens


BARTLESVILLE, Okla. -

A growing problem has only been exacerbated during the pandemic as people continue to flush disposable wipes down the toiled.

Water departments say while those wipes can clean your home, they make a mess of the sewers.

The disposable wipes flushed down toilets have a long trip before they end up at treatment plants, but Terry Lauritsen, the City of Bartlesville Director of Water Utilities said not all of them make it there.

"We've seen, really since the pandemic started, more use of disposable wipes, people flushing those down the toilet. And unfortunately, those don't break up or shred up like toilet paper would," Lauritsen said.

Lauritsen said there's no such thing as a 'flushable' wipe, because the wipes don't break apart, they bunch up inside sewer lines.

"Well, if they do group together and form a plug, that's a pretty effective dam in essence to the wastewater system," Lauritsen said. "Raw wastewater backs up, it can come out of the system through a manhole or even it can come up into a homeowner's house, it can come up through a tub or drain."

It's a problem every sewer system across Green Country is dealing with, but some see more damage than others.

"Well, the easy solution is really to dispose of those properly. So instead of flushing those we want you to throw them in the trash. Or just use toilet paper," Lauritsen said.

Fats, oils, and grease are also a huge problem inside of sewers. 

Other items to avoid flushing down the drain include:

  1. Feminine sanitary products
  2. Diapers
  3. Dental floss
  4. Paper towels/tissues
  5. Hair
  6. Cotton balls and Q-tips
  7. Condoms

You can always call your local Wastewater Department if you have questions about what your sewage system can and can't handle.