How are your #FlushSmart skills?
Here are some common myths and facts about wipes, sewer clogs, in our city pipes and water waste treatment facilities, and other sewage news. Put on your lab coat to see if you know the science behind the facts or how to debunk the myths below.
Au contraire mon frère… That is a Myth!
Fact: It’s estimated that hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year to clean up fatbergs from our nation’s 800,000 miles of sewer pipes.
- Since the pandemic started in 2020, there has been a 50% increase in sewer blockages.
- 50% of sewer line blockages are caused by tree roots, trash, and other debris.
Myth: Unfortunately, this is a gross underestimate.
Fact: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 850 billion gallons of raw sewage is dumped into waterways across America every year. This is about the same amount of water the Mississippi River carries into the Gulf of Mexico annually.
Fact: True story!
Fatbergs are giant cement-like masses that form in sewer pipes when cooking grease congeals and combines with products that get stuck in the grease and don’t readily disperse. That is why it is important to know what not to flush down the toilet or pour down any drain.
Please don’t flush or pour down any drain any cooking Fats, Oil, or Grease (FOG) or dispose of non-flushable items in the toilet (feminine hygiene, paper hand towels, disposable wipes, facial tissue, cotton swabs, medication, condoms, dental floss, teeth whitening strips, incontinence products, etc.).
Fact: Just because something can fit down the toilet does not mean it should be flushed.
Flushable items are made to disperse in water so that they do not contribute to sewer clogs. It’s also important to remember to not pour any FOG (Fats, Oil, Grease) down any drains because when that grease combines with trash and other non-flushable items, it can congeal an create cement-like clogs that cost millions of dollars for municipalities to clean up.
Myth: When clogs are found and wipes are visible, many assume those are flushable wipes. However, forensic analysis of clogs show non-flushable products are the true culprits.
Facts: Flushable Wipes account for less than two percent of debris identified in forensic studies of clogs and accumulations in sewer systems. Non-flushable products, like baby wipes and paper hand towels, often make up the largest portion of these debris.
According to data from the California State Water Resources Control Board Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) Reduction Program, 73 percent of all sanitary sewer overflows in California are caused by tree roots, fats, oils and grease (“FOG”), as well as debris.
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