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A stay-at-home PSA: Stop flushing garbage down the toilet

I guess your parents didn’t tell you what can and what cannot be flushed down the toilet. King County sewers are being overwhelmed with “fatbergs” that are clogging the pipes.

“It’s a terrible, disgusting mess,” said Marie Fiore, King County Wastewater Treatment Division Strategic Communications Coordinator.

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People are flushing just about everything down the toilet right now, and it is causing big problems for wastewater treatment systems around the country. There is only one paper product you can flush down the toilet, and that’s toilet paper.

“Any paper product, other than toilet paper, even those that are marked ‘flushable,’ ‘biodegradable,’ or ‘compostable,’ do not dissolve like toilet paper in water,” Fiore said.

Disinfecting wipes do not go in the toilet. Neither do any other sort of sanitizing products.

These products create huge masses in the pipes and clog the systems.

“Our wastewater treatment staff have to go in and manually remove these fatbergs, or these tangled messes of wipes, and it’s just not healthy,” Fiore said.

No one should be adding to the “fatbergs” clogging the system.

And now would be a great time to change your overall toilet behavior and get in the habit of not flushing these items, including diapers.

“We see everything from feminine hygiene products, condoms, cotton swabs, makeup remover pads,” she said. “All of these things are very dangerous to the system.”

Now add the disinfecting wipes, and you can see why there’s a problem. These products can damage your home plumbing as well as the public sewer systems.

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Since we are in a health crisis, it is important to realize that this lazy flushing can add to the health problem.

“We need a fully-functioning sewer system to protect public health and the environment,” Fiore said.

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