Those sanitizing wipes? Don’t flush them!

SAN FRANCISCO, Ca. (KPIX/CNN) - Coronavirus isn’t just impacting people’s health, it’s also affecting sewer systems.

Officials in northern California say people are flushing so many sanitizing wipes the sewer lines are getting blocked.

Wes Fredenburg of San Rafael Sanitation District says he has been clearing sewer lines and fighting wipes for the last few days.

“They get snagged in the pipes and cause a buildup, cause a blockage and over flow, or they can get caught in a pump, stop the pump and... like this example of how rags and wipes completely jammed this pump. Not very sanitary for sanitary wipes."

Fredenburg also said, “They just don’t break down. It’s like flushing rags down the toilet!”

Jason Dow, general manager of central Marin Sanitation Agency said, “It’s a pretty important issue for wastewater agencies.”

Dow says one issue is labeling. Some brands say flushable.

“There’s legislation that’s we’re looking at requiring manufacturers of wipes to use proper labeling. So, if there’s synthetic material in the wipe, like plastic or regenerated callous, you can’t label them as flushable anymore.”

Fredenburg said, “Help us out. Keep your wipes out of our pipes!”

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