Using 'flushable' wipes? Reconsider what clogs up the sewer

Using 'flushable' wipes? Reconsider what clogs up the sewer
Remnants of undissolved flush-able wipes. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Remnants of undissolved flush-able wipes. (Source: KTRE Staff)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Chances are you've been told not to pour grease down the drain, but what about flushable wipes?

The City of Lufkin Water and Sewer is trying to wipe away a huge problem - flushable wipes.

"They're technically not flushable. But, I mean, people flush them anyway. The reason they're not flush-able is because they don't dissolve," said Orlandos Spencer, who is a list station operator with the city.

Unlike toilet paper, these wipes clog or tear up the pumps.

"It's just a misconception. The problem is even in small amounts, those flushable wipes and grease are going to accumulate and it will cause problems," said Jason Arnold, the director of the City of Lufkin's Water and Sewer Utilities Department.

The problem with wipes is they will eventually go down the pumps. The strings of wipes can wrap around the pump motors, and as a result, the motors will have to work hard to turn. The motors will lock the pumps, the harder it turns.

Replacing or repairing the equipment could cost taxpayers a pretty penny.

"For whatever reason, those flushable wipes get in there and tear up a pump. You're looking at over $10,000. Now, that's not only real money where we're having to pay for that pump, but it is also a timely process," Arnold said.

There are a few things that can go down the pipes.

"Pee, poop, and toilet tissue. Those are fine. They don't mess with the machines. The machines are actually built for that kind of stuff," Spencer said.

If you are considering using flushable wipes, throw them in the trash and not down the drain.

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