Important reminder: Only flush toilet paper

Best way to keep wastewater flowing and not clogged up
April 15, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging all Americans to flush only toilet paper, not disinfecting wipes or other nonflushable items that should be disposed of in the trash.

Flushing only toilet paper helps ensure that toilets, plumbing, sewer systems and septic systems will continue working properly to safely manage the nation’s wastewater. While EPA encourages people to disinfect their environments to prevent the spread of COVID-19, everyone is reminded never to flush disinfecting wipes or other nonflushable items; they should be thrown in the household trash.

Preventable toilet and sewer backups can pose a threat to human health and present an extra challenge to water utilities and their workforce. Flushing anything other than toilet paper, including disinfecting wipes, can damage internal plumbing, local sewer systems and septic systems. Fixing these backups is costly, and takes time and resources away from ensuring that wastewater management systems are otherwise working properly.

EPA thanks wastewater utilities and their workforce for their courageous efforts at a time when resources may be stretched thin. Having fully operational wastewater services is critical to containing COVID-19 and protecting Americans from other public health risks. The nation’s wastewater employees are everyday heroes who are on the front lines of protecting human health and the environment every single day.

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