VOORHEES, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--It seems easy to dispose of almost anything in the toilet - flush, and forget. But, flushing the wrong things down the toilet can cause some serious and expensive problems for your home’s plumbing lines. It can also cause even bigger problems in your local sewer system, from the pipes running under the street outside your home, to the treatment plant, which were designed to dispose and treat specific items. While it might seem to make your daily life easier, putting the wrong thing down the toilet can and do cause blockages, which take time money (yours’ and taxpayers) to fix.
Diapers – Flushing diapers is more common than you might think. But, diapers will clog a toilet, or an outgoing sewer line, in a heartbeat. Disposable diapers should always go in the trash. You may believe that just one diaper flushed down the toilet shouldn’t be a problem. However, most disposable diapers are made from a material that is designed to expand when it comes in contact with water. Even if one actually gets down your toilet’s line, it can get easily get caught in the system’s turns and bends, causing a backup of the sewer into your house. Sewer company workers frequently have to unblock sewer pipes that are clogged with diapers – not a pleasant job.
Bathroom Wipes/Moist Towelettes -- These are popular for wiping babies’ bottoms and are found in most bathrooms and nurseries today. They are not toilet paper. They are thicker and sturdier, and do not easily break down in water. They are manufactured for durability and cannot be torn as easily as toilet paper. Many brands today are marketed as “flushable.” Despite this, they still cause sewer clogs and backups. The problem is that if you have just a small clog in the pipes, these flushable wipes quickly add to the size of the clog and the growing problem, leading to expensive home plumbing repairs down the line. Flushing wipes down the toilet can harm your household pipes, sewer lines, as well as the sewer system’s pumps and filters.
Tampons and Sanitary Napkins --Flushing tampons and sanitary napkins cause a great deal of the clogs and sewage backups in the home. First, like disposable diapers, the absorbent nature of these products makes them quickly become too thick for the plumbing. Second, cotton snags easily. Any cracks or root infiltration in the pipes can cause the cotton to get caught and clogged in the line. After just a few flushes, buildup can occur and you can have a clog on your hands. This can result in expensive home repairs, especially if the clog occurs in the line between your toilet and the sewer pipe out under the street.
Cotton Balls & Swabs – It might seem like these tiny bathroom items would just get soggy and eventually break down in the watery pipeline, but they don’t. As mentioned earlier, cotton snags easily, gathering in pipe bends and causing expensive blockages.
Paper Towels and Napkins -- Paper towels are not designed to break down in water like toilet paper. Flushing them can result in blockages and expensive home plumbing problems.
Properly Dispose of Grease and Oil -- Grease and fat from cooking congeal once they cool down, turning into solid masses that block pipes and cause serious sewage problems. When washed down the drain, grease and oil can adhere to the insides of the pipes that carry the wastewater from homes and businesses to the sewer treatment facility. Over time, this buildup of grease can restrict the flow of wastewater, or worse yet, block the homeowners’ or utility’s sewer pipes. These blockages can lead to sewage overflows or backups in your home.
New Jersey American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK) is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.5 million people. Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs approximately 6,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 14 million people in more than 40 states, as well as parts of Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.