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The Hidden Dangers of “Flushable” Wipes: Why They Should Never Be Flushed

Flushable wipes - septic pumping gilbert az

In recent years, “flushable” wipes have become a popular household item, marketed as a convenient and hygienic alternative to toilet paper. However, when it comes to septic tank maintenance, these so-called flushable wipes are anything but convenient. In fact, they can cause significant harm to your plumbing system and septic tank, leading to costly repairs and maintenance. In this blog, we’ll dive into the harmful nature of flushable wipes and why you should never flush them down the toilet.

The Misleading Marketing of "Flushable" Wipes

Despite being labeled as “flushable,” these wipes do not break down as easily as toilet paper. Unlike toilet paper, which disintegrates quickly in water, flushable wipes retain their integrity and can persist in your plumbing system for a long time. This durability is a major reason why they should never be flushed. Many brands promote that they break down as soon as you flush them… however, that is not a truthful statement. 

In fact, several cities and municipalities have been actively fighting to remove the word “flushable” from wipes packaging due to the significant issues these products cause in sewer systems and septic tanks.

Clogging Your Pipes: The First Sign of Trouble

One of the immediate effects of flushing wipes is the risk of clogging your pipes. As these wipes do not dissolve quickly, they can accumulate in your plumbing, leading to blockages. This can cause slow drains, backups, and ultimately, a complete blockage that requires professional intervention. Regular septic tank maintenance can help manage these issues, but it’s best to avoid them altogether by keeping wipes out of your toilet.

Wipes in City Sewer

This is an eight-inch valve on a force main at a wastewater treatment plant that had been blocked by not-so-flushable sanitary wipes. While one doesn’t seem like a lot, when “everyone” gets together, they can become disastrous. 

The Impact on Your Septic Tank

When flushable wipes make their way into your septic tank, they create even more problems. These wipes can get hooked on inlet and outlet baffles inside the tank, disrupting the flow and separation of waste. Over time, this can lead to a buildup of wipes that obstructs the system, preventing it from functioning properly. This blockage can result in the need for more frequent septic tank pumping and maintenance, driving up costs and inconvenience. 

When we open a septic tank for a home that is a wipes user, the price of the pumping service typically goes up. The wipes tangle together and it is extremely difficult to get them out of the tank, sucked up into our hose and not clog our truck. Even worse, when the guys take your septic waste to the treatment plant, many times they have to manually pull them out of the truck with their hands! EWWW

wipes in the septic tank

Effluent Filters: A Critical Point of Failure

Effluent filters are designed to keep solids from entering the drain field, ensuring that only liquid waste is released. However, flushable wipes can attach to these filters, causing blockages that compromise their effectiveness. When effluent filters are clogged, your septic system cannot properly filter the wastewater to the disposal field, leading to potential system failure.

Increased Costs and Labor

The presence of flushable wipes in your septic tank not only requires extra time to remove during maintenance but also increases the overall cost of waste disposal. These wipes need to be manually pulled out at the dump, adding to the labor and expense involved. This additional effort can make septic tank pumping more costly and time-consuming. We’ve actually cleaned out tanks that required a shovel and manual entrance inside the tank to remove them.

Protect Your Septic System: Ditch the Wipes

To protect your plumbing and septic system, it’s crucial to avoid flushing anything other than human waste and toilet paper. This simple habit can save you from the headaches and expenses associated with clogged pipes and septic tank maintenance.

At Priority Pumping, we’re committed to helping you maintain a healthy and efficient septic system. For more tips on septic tank maintenance and to schedule your next service, visit our website or give us a call. And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for more valuable insights and updates!

Picture of Tanya Wilson

Tanya Wilson

Tanya Wilson is the owner and CEO of Priority Pumping. She loves the wastewater industry and all of the opportunities for consumer education.

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