The EPA wants all Americans to stop flushing down non-flushable items down the toilet such as disinfecting wipes, baby wipes, menstrual products, and pretty much anything that isn’t toilet paper.
According to the EPA website, flushing any product other than toilet paper down the toilet “can damage internal plumbing, local sewer systems and septic systems. Fixing these backups is costly and takes time and resources away from ensuring that wastewater management systems are otherwise working properly.”
Toilet paper gets broken down by water as it passes through the toilet, making it easy to move through plumbing systems. But water can’t disintegrate flushable wipes the same way as toilet paper – in fact, it only makes them hold together better and cause damage to these systems. Even if the packaging on the wipes says flushable, it can still cause plumbing problems.
Any product that is not toilet paper can even get washed up in storm drains and litter rivers and other bodies of water, hurting the environment. According to ABC 7, in January of 2018, after a filter in a water treatment clogged, almost 5 million gallons of sewage spilled into the bay. As a result, The Monterey County Health department closed beaches throughout the county including Lover’s Point, Carmel beach, Monterey State beach, and San Carlos beach.
People are encouraged to think about the consequences of flushing the toilet and how it affects the environment, their communities, and local resources.