Important reminder: Wipes clog pipes.

Be careful what you reach for, wipes and similar TP alternatives should not be flushed.

As packages of toilet paper fill carts and Northeast Ohio is left with empty shelves, many Americans are stocking up on disposable wipes or other alternative solutions to perceived TP shortages. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District reminds you that while the packaging might say “flushable,” wipes should never be flushed down the toilet.

“Flushable wipes are not truly flushable,” said Jim Bunsey, Chief Operating Officer. “They might go down the drain, but they do not break up like regular toilet paper.”

In addition, paper towels, facial tissues and disinfecting wipes are also no-nos. Dispose of these items in the garbage can and save your drains.

Large wastewater treatment plants such as the three owned and operated by the Sewer District have a better ability to handle wipes and other debris, but they are screened out early in the treatment process. That’s if they even make it to the treatment plant: Wipes bind with fats, oils and grease and can wreak havoc on smaller wastewater treatment facilities, clog local sewer systems and harm your home’s plumbing.

A view of the flow coming into the Euclid Creek Pump station on Lakeshore Boulevard in Cleveland. These wipes are coming from neighboring cities, demonstrating their durability. Photo courtesy Joshua Dress.

“Collectively, our three treatment plants treat more than 200 million gallons of wastewater every single day, but if wipes even make it to us, they are still trucked off to a landfill,” said Bunsey.

Official Medium channel of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District in Cleveland, OH