Drain Pipe Blockage Problem: Why Flushable Wipes Must Not Be Flushed

June 29, 2020

Drain pipes, which are part of sewer and water drainage systems, are essential to eradicate any unwanted water or waste liquids from our sinks, toilets, and many more. While these pipes can serve their purpose for a long time, numerous factors can still affect their overall service life. One of these factors is the blockage of drain pipes.

Numerous elements can easily block the pathways of drain pipes. Some examples of these elements include tree roots, sticks, dirt, rocks, feminine hygiene products, baby diapers, fat, oil, grease, hair, food bits and chunks, and random objects. Aside from the presence of these elements, blockage of drain pipes may also be caused by the disintegration of the pipes, the incorrect slope of the sewer, undersized sewer pipes, and overloading of the pipes.

Aside from the mentioned products above, another element that can cause drastic drain pipe blockage is flushable wipes.

What are flushable wipes?

Baby wipes, cleaning wipes, and pre-moistened towelettes are some of the wet wipe products that can be classified as flushable wipes. These wipes are normally used for hygienic purposes, and that a lot of people purchase them to save water consumption. Numerous manufacturers of wipes put certain labels like “flushable” or “septic safe” so that users can be confident to flush them down to the toilet. However, many users do not realize the actual threat and risk of flushing these wipes on the toilet and their long-term effects on the drain pipes. In fact, authorities are discouraging people from using this type of wipes.

Why flushable wipes must not be flushed?

The problem behind flushable wipes is that they contribute to the clogging problems of drain pipes and even the whole sewer and water drainage system. Contrary to the claim of most companies, flushable wipes apparently do not disintegrate whenever they are being flushed. Instead, these wipes accumulate on the pipes and integrate themselves with fat, oil, or grease. As the wipes and fat begin to pile up, they now form a huge mass of solid waste called fatberg. Fatbergs are usually composed of wipes, sanitary items, and other products that are soaked with concealed grease and cooking fat.

The presence of these waste products on the drain pipes can easily cause a problem. Whenever professionals clean and fix clogged drain pipes, they often recover a huge amount of fatbergs, which are mostly comprised of flushable wipes.

How did the authorities respond?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recently instituted proceedings against companies that are marketing flushable wipes as, well, flushable. Claims of wipes that can be flushed on the toilet have already misled a huge number of people in Australia in buying and using them. As a result, about 75% of drain pipes blockages involve flushable wipes. Additionally, sewer cleaning and maintenance companies have already removed tonnes of flushable wipes from the wastewater system.

So, the next time you use your wipes, do not attempt to flush them down again on your toilet. Instead, discard them to your trash bin or use other alternatives in cleaning yourself. However, if you need to have your drain pipes cleaned, feel free to contact us at G. Brand & Sons.

 

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