Public Asked to Stop Flushing “Flushable Wipes” as Sewer Backups Increase

By Jeremy Coumbes on June 21, 2021 at 10:09am

A common bathroom product is continuing to cause havoc underground in the area. Public Works Superintendent for the Village of South Jacksonville John Green is asking the public to not dispose of flushable wipes when using the restroom.

Village of South Jacksonville crews were called out over the weekend to a report of a sewer back up in the vicinity of South West and Michigan Streets. Green says once crews began working on the issue, they discovered the line had been clogged by the wipes that are advertised as flushable.

Green says the wipes have caused issues with blocked sewer lines as their popularity has increased over the last several years. He says many wipes that are branded as “flushable” actually do not disintegrate as bath tissue does.

Green says that combined with older sewer lines such as those found in most any long-established system, causes constant clogs that at times can result in the sewer backing up into homes. Green says he knows the City of Jacksonville has also been fighting the same problem over the years.

According to a report by the Washington Post in April, cities around the country have seen a dramatic increase in sewer backups since March of last year, when bath tissue became scarce during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report points to not only the flushable wipes being an issue, but now more disinfectant wipes are also being flushed as people tried to keep surfaces clean at home and on the job while trying to avoid contracting COVID.

The clogged sewer systems cause raw sewage to back up into homes and waterways once enough have been flushed into the system. Green is asking the public to please stop flushing the wipes into the system. He says the next line that could be blocked causing sewage to back up into a home could be yours.