Sheldon, Iowa — You know those flushable wipes that many of us have gotten used to using because they do such a good job? Yeah, well, the City of Sheldon says they’re not really flushable. That is, they’ll go down, but they cause headaches for those who have to deal with them in the sewer system.
The City of Sheldon has released a list of items that they do NOT want you to flush down the toilet or wash down the drain. Top on the list? Wipes of any kind — BOTH “flushable” and non-flushable. (flushable wipes, baby wipes, disinfecting wipes, makeup wipes, etc.)
Experts say that flushing of wipes cause cities to spend thousands on premature equipment repair and replacement. They say wipes snag on any imperfection in sewer pipes, catch passing debris and grease, and create a “ball” that will grow to plug the pipe. We’re also told wipes get drawn into sewer-line and wastewater treatment plant pumps and clog and damage them. Municipalities must manually clear out pumps or remove clogs.
Sheldon City officials tell us that all of the items on the list are harmful to privately-owned sewer pipes and the City’s sewer mains and equipment. They say that flushing any of the items can damage or plug your sewer lines or the City-owned sewer lines.
The statement says, “Damage to your property and to your neighbors’ property can be prevented by throwing the items in the garbage [instead] or contacting your local supplier for instructions on proper disposal.”
Another category of product that is high on the list is feminine hygiene products, condoms, and contraceptives. While it’s convenient to flush used tampons, the problems are similar to those of wipes. They don’t break down, and in fact, absorb liquids and increase in size. The makers of Tampax state on the packaging, “Tampons cannot be processed by wastewater-treatment facilities and they can harm septic systems.”
Another category is fats, oils, and grease. If you fry meat, you should not just drain the grease down the drain, as it will solidify and cause a clog.
Here’s the entire list of things that should NOT be flushed, according to the City of Sheldon:
• wipes of any kind, flushable and non-flushable
• feminine hygiene products, condoms, contraceptives
• excessive fats, oil, grease
• bandages, wrappings
• cigarette butts and coffee grounds
• disposable diapers and dryer sheets
• ear swabs, cotton balls, dental floss
• facial tissue, paper towels, scrubbing pads
• pet waste, kitty litter
• automotive fluid
• paints, solvents, sealants, thinners
• poisons, hazardous waste
• plastic of any kind
• inorganic materials
• syringes, needles, sharps
Basically, just because it WILL go down the drain doesn’t mean you should flush or pour it down the drain. Experts say that only material that comes from your body and toilet paper should be flushed.