Feeling squeaky clean on your bottom might not be good for your bottom line. The issue of whether wipes labeled as “flushable” really live up to their name has the potential not only to clog up your toilet and sewer systems in the Mid-Atlantic but the U.S. court systems as well.
Since their appearance on the market, so-called flushable wipes have had the backing of those who are attracted by their claim on cleanliness. But these moist toilettes, much like baby wipes for grown-ups, have been subject to much scrutiny about whether they are harming septic and sewer systems. While the wipes do break down in the sewer system they typically take longer than regular toilet paper and in the meantime can cause “ragging” which is what happens when the wipes get caught up with other things like sanitary pads, paper towels and other things that contribute to sewer blockages.
In fact, in Washington, D.C., a law that was slated to go into effect this year took aim on calling to task the manufacturer’s claims of flush-ability. The law would have prevented manufacturers from labeling their products as “flushable” unless it dispersed in a short period of time after flushing, is not buoyant, and does not contain plastic or any other material that does not readily degrade. The Washington Business Journal reported that law was halted by a federal judge ruling the law would impinge on a company’s First Amendment Rights.
On the flip side, the law firm of Morgan & Morgan is investigating lawsuits on behalf of consumers who used flushable wipes and experienced plumbing problems.
And in Texas, the town of Great Barrington was debating a ban on sales of “flushable wipes” in town limits or making it illegal to flush anything but human waste and toilet paper down residents’ toilets. Enforcement would certainly be an invasion of residents’ private business!
What not to flush
Whether “flushable wipes” are the main culprit behind clogged drains or just a contributor, keeping them out of your toilet can help you avoid costly repairs. It’s a good idea to have a trashcan in the bathroom next to the toilet, making it easy to toss wipes and these other leading clog offenders:
- Cotton swabs
- Toilet roll tube
- Dental floss
- Cotton balls
- Cigarette butts
- Sanitary pads
- Tampon applicators
- Facial wipes
What to do with a clogged sewer line
Gurgling drains, water backing up and coming out of drains, and toilets constantly running are all warning signs of a clogged sewer line. If you suspect you have a clogged drain, it’s not something you should wait to clear up. If you believe it may just be one affected drain, you can attempt to unclog it using a drain snake.
Multiple drains with symptoms are the job of a professional who will use a video camera to inspect your sewer line. A professional plumber can find the problem, clear the clog, and inspect the structure of the plumbing for damage.
Frequent clogged drains are not normal and can indicate there is possibly a larger issue at hand. It may be time to call in a professional to give your plumbing system a diagnostic assessment. Len The Plumber professionals in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, Delaware and Philadelphia area can determine if your clogged drain needs a minor fix or if there is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed.
Len The Plumber is a full-service plumbing company which means we can conduct preventative maintenance, diagnose plumbing system problems, and make repairs no matter how large or small. Call us for professional same-day service. In the meantime, if you are a fan of the “flushable wipe,” just remember to trash it not flush it!