While toilet paper is in high demand and low supply, some may be turning to sanitary wipes, but towns throughout the state are urging people to stop flushing them before it’s too late.
“[Wipes] are the bane of every wastewater treatment operator in the world and every septic maintenance guy in the world,” said Brian Baumgaertel, director of the Massachusetts Alternative Septic Test Center in Sandwich. “They can easily plug up the pumps and all the electronic stuff that’s keeping the wastewater moving away from your home.”
Even wipes that are branded as “flushable,” he said, almost certainly aren’t, and it’s a time-consuming, two-person job to unclog a system even at a small plant.
The only things that should be flushed, Baumgaertel said, are human waste and toilet paper.
“The wipes tend to bind with other materials in wastewater like grease and oil, and they create these ugly things like fat bergs which can really impact an entire neighborhood or larger. “
Already, towns like Revere and Lawrence say they’ve seen more clogging than usual.