Remember Your P’s: Pee, Poop & (toilet) Paper Only!
Toilet paper hoarding is a significant problem with Covid-19, and a lack of toilet paper at the stores is leading some consumers to other options. Unfortunately, one of the choices people are turning to is “flushable or disposable wipes.” The only things that should be going down a toilet are the Three P’s: Pee, Poop, and (toilet) Paper!
Wet wipes aren’t flushable. Wet wipes may advertise that they are flushable, but they do not readily break down like toilet paper. Toilet paper will break down in seconds in water, which is essential to it flowing smoothly through the sewer system. Wipes can clog drains and pipes in houses and have resulted in a lot of calls to plumbers to unclog backed up toilets and pipes – not to mention the possible unpleasant consequences of an overflowing toilet.
Wipes can travel for miles down pipes and combine with other wipes and materials flushed down toilets and sinks and create fatbergs in the city sewer system. A fatberg is made up of non-biodegradable materials such as wipes and improperly disposed of cooking oils that congeal together as a mass in a sewer system. They are the cause of many clogs in sewer pipes and can result in overflows and costly maintenance. Several fatburgs have achieved international fame due to their size and impacts. Large systems like the ones in London and New York have had fatburgs that exceeded 15 tons and were hundreds of feet long. A clog in the Charleston Water System in South Carolina required two divers to dive 80 feet deep through raw sewage to break apart a one-ton fatberg.
Although few sewer systems are the size of those in New York or London, sewage blocks are a universal issue. A worldwide campaign called “The Three Ps – pee, poo and (toilet) paper,” highlights the only things to be flushed down the toilet. The United Kingdom has a charming video by kids “Love Your Loo,” and the City of Hamilton produced a hilarious video called “Own Your Throne.”
So what do you do if a disposable wipe is your only option? Treat it like a dirty diaper and place it in the trash can and please remember that the only thing that should be flushed down a toilet are the Three P’s: Pee, Poop, and (toilet) Paper!