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Posted on: March 26, 2020

‘Flushable wipes’ aren’t flushable

Wipes Block Pipes

Banffites are warned not to flush wipes marketed as ‘flushable’ down toilets as they clog sewer lines and can cause messy backups.

So-called flushable wipes do not break down in the sewer system like toilet paper does. They remain there and can block pipes and even back up into residential toilets. 

Since there’s been a rush on the purchase of toilet paper, people may turn to alternatives like flushable wipes, but the Town of Banff is cautioning residents not to flush them down toilets.

“With so many people self-isolating because of COVID-19 we don’t want situations were anyone is forced out of their home because of a sewer backup,” said Town of Banff Director of Operations Paul Godfrey. “Backups are serious situations and we urge residents not to flush anything but toilet paper.”

Municipal sewer systems can only handle human waste and toilet paper specifically designed to break down and deteriorate quickly in the sewer system. Anything else flushed down toilets could cause blockages in entire neighbourhoods, requiring municipal crews to fix them at a time when the Town’s efforts and tax dollars need to be focused on critical services.

“Toilets are not trash cans,” Godfrey said. “If you flush anything but toilet paper and human waste it will cause major problems.”

Municipalities throughout Canada are seeing a significant spike in the number of clogs attributed to alternative products promoted as flushable, like wipes, paper towels and even tissues – which do not break down like toilet paper does.

The Town of Banff is asking residents, businesses and guests to be mindful of this and the need of the municipality to focus on critical services at this time.

More information about what not to flush is available at https://banff.ca/418/Water.

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