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Coronavirus: State Water Board Warns 'Flushable' Wipes Could Clog Sewer Systems

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — As the state grapples with the ripple effects of the coronavirus outbreak, California's Water Board says residents should not flush disinfecting wipes or paper towels, or risk dealing with backed-up plumbing and sewers.

Across the state, toilet paper is scarce and many consumers have turned to paper towels, flushable wipes and other products. But the State Water Board warns that anything other than toilet paper will "clog sewers and cause backups and overflows at wastewater treatment facilities, creating an additional public health risk amid the coronavirus pandemic."

Even wipes labeled "flushable" will clog pipes and interfere with sewage collection, according to the Water Board.

"Wastewater treatment facilities around the state already are reporting issues with their sewer management collection systems," the State Water Board said in a statement.

Most urban centers are on centralized sewage collection systems that depend on gravity and enough water flow to move along human waste and biodegradable toilet paper. The Water Board says these systems were not designed for individual nylon wipes and paper towels.

Residents should discard wipes, which the agency says is among the leading cause of sewer system backups, in the trash.


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