Drainage problems caused by wet wipes
The issue with wet wipes in drains is a growing concern that impacts drainage systems and the overall environment. Despite their convenience, wet wipes, often marketed as “flushable,” can cause significant problems when flushed down toilets and end up in drainage systems. Here’s why they pose a problem:
Wet wipes are typically made from synthetic materials like polyester or polypropylene, which do not break down easily in water. Unlike toilet paper, which disintegrates rapidly, wet wipes can persist in the sewer system for a long time, contributing to clogs and blockages.
- Clogging Drains:
When flushed, wet wipes can accumulate and clump together in pipes, creating blockages. These blockages not only affect individual households but can lead to larger issues in municipal sewer systems, causing backups and overflows.
- Impact on Sewer Infrastructure:
Wet wipes have been known to combine with other debris, grease, and materials in the sewer, forming large, solid masses known as “fatbergs.” These fatbergs can obstruct sewers and require expensive and time-consuming efforts to remove, posing a significant challenge to sewer infrastructure.
- Environmental Consequences:
When wet wipes contribute to blockages, the resulting sewer overflows can release pollutants into local water bodies, negatively impacting aquatic ecosystems. The persistence of non-biodegradable materials in the environment raises concerns about long-term ecological effects.
- Misleading Labelling:
The term “flushable” on wet wipe packaging can be misleading. While they may technically flush down the toilet, the materials do not disintegrate quickly, causing problems further down the sewer line.
To prevent issues with wet wipes in drains:
Dispose of wet wipes in the trash rather than flushing them.
Use trash bins with lids in bathrooms to encourage proper disposal.
Educate occupants and businesses about the impact of wet wipes on drains and the environment.
Save yourself from the expense of blocked drains – don’t flush it, bin it.