News & Politics

Shredded T-Shirts Used as Toilet Paper Are Backing Up Sewer Systems

Shoppers rush to pick up toilet paper that had just arrived at a Costco store, Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Tacoma, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Thanks to all of you numbskulls who bought a million rolls of toilet paper in the last few weeks,  some California towns are experiencing sewer problems because people are using disinfectant wipes, paper towels, and even shredded T-shirts and then flushing them.

WFLA:

A Northern California city is asking residents not to use T-shirts as toilet paper as panicked customers exhaust toilet paper aisles nationwide in response to the coronavirus.

“COR Wastewater Management responded to a sewer backup from shredded t-shirts being used in place of toilet paper,” the City of Redding tweeted Thursday. “Remember, if you use anything other than toilet paper, Bag it. Don’t flush it.”

Wastewater management employees worked Wednesday night to clear the strips of T-shirt behind the clog at a lift station, according to the Redding Record Searchlight.

This is a serious problem that could affect millions of people.

CNN:

Facilities across California have already reported issues with their sewer collection systems, the state’s Water Resources Control Board said.

Many cities in California use centralized sewage collection systems that rely on gravity and water flow to move along waste, according to regulators. Toilet paper dissolves in those systems, where as wipes and paper towels don’t break down so easily.

All we need is another public health crisis to deal with. Government agents will have to start going door to door and seize TP and distribute it to the truly needy.

The Romans used to scrape themselves clean and then enjoy a nice cleansing bath. No sewer problems there.

“Flushing wipes, paper towels and similar products down toilets will clog sewers and cause backups and overflows at wastewater treatment facilities, creating an additional public health risk in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic,” the state’s Water Resources Control Board said in a news release.

Other state agencies across the country — including the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, the Lawrence Department of Public Works in Massachusetts and the Charleston Water System in South Carolina — have issued similar warnings.

Apparently, even “flushable wipes” are a problem. The flushable products may clear your toilet bowl but become a problem farther downstream — especially today with people flushing all sorts of paper products.

Save your pipes. Don’t flush wipes.