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Don’t flush disposable wipes

With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, residents are being reminded not to flush their disposable sanitizing wipes, as they causing blockages in the region’s sanitary sewer system.

Residents may be increasing the use of disposable wipes to disinfect or as toilet paper alternatives, according to a press release from Durham Region’s works department. Unfortunately, some residents may be flushing these items in their toilet, which has caused significant and costly blockages to the sewer system.

The region notes that these conditions have the high potential of raw sewage back-ups into the basement of people’s homes.

“We are noticing an increase in blockages in our sewage system caused by people flushing disposable wipes down the toilet,” says John Presta, director of environmental services for the region. “We understand that many residents want to sanitize their homes and you may need to use toilet paper alternatives at this time, but please do not flush them. These items could end up flooding your basement with raw sewage, damaging our equipment and causing costly repairs,” the statement continues.

Durham’s municipal sewer systems are built to handle human waste and toilet paper (which is specifically designed to deteriorate quickly – unlike wipes). The region’s works department is urging residents to only flush the three Ps: poo, pee and toilet paper. Anything else being put down the toilet or sink causes problems that leads to clogs, blockages, damaged wastewater equipment and sewage back-ups flooding basements.

The region also states that while some items are marketed as “flushable” in stores, these wipes are indeed not flushable in Durham’s sanitary sewer system and all wipes should be disposed of in the garbage can instead.

“We urge you to think before you flush and only flush the three P’s: poo, pee and toilet paper,” says Presta.

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