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Are Flushable Wipes Safe for Sewers and Drains?

Posted on December 15, 2013

With modern bathroom products such as wipes, baby wipes and cleaning pads, now readily available, they are proving to be popular household items as not only do they give you a higher cleaning experience, they also promise a quick and easy “flushable” disposal when you’re finished. And with most consumers trusting what they read on the label, they go ahead and flush them!

Yet despite these products implying they’re perfectly safe to flush down the toilet without posing any problems for sewers or septic systems, it’s been proven that they’re actually not as safe as they say they are. But once they have been flushed and disappear out of sight, they are also out of mind. Yet that is not the end of the problem. They can sit in pipes and take years to fully disintegrate. The result: clogged pipes that turn into blockages that can eventually lead to the overspill of sewage into streams and basements.

You may be thinking, why would manufacturers brand their products flushable is this is not the case? Well, they simply aren’t carrying out sufficient enough tests before they make these claims. For instance, they are not replicating the exact conditions of the sewer systems which is having an impact on their disintegration test results, although much to manufacturers’ disagreement.

So although you may not consider it your problem once you can no longer see the item, it is still someone else’s problem. Drainage contractors can spend hours – even days – at a time solving just one problem, whether it’s unblocking pipes with drain jetting or repairing any damage to overflowing sewage systems and equipment. This is besides from the expensive costs which currently accumulates to £15 million a year as a national cost of unblocking sewers by water and sewerage companies, when it can all be avoided by quite simply thinking before you flush your wipes and other bathroom products away

If you ever find yourself in doubt over whether a wipe or any other bathroom product is flushable, it’s best to just not flush it and put it in the bin instead. This way you can save either yourself or your sewage company the headache of sorting it out if it escalates into a blockage and requires calling on a drainage company to carry out drain jetting.

Moving forwards, Water UK have adopted a protocol to ‘determine the flushability of disposable products’ which outlines that no product is deemed flushable without complying to the tests outlined within the protocol. Water UK intends to make sure of this by working alongside the producers of these products that are considered flushable.

With this in mind, it is reassuring to know that the water industry is clearly committed to keeping our sewers in top condition and fully functioning as they should be whilst encouraging a safe removal of disposable household items.

If you’d like more information about drain clearing or if you’re in need of a professional drainage company then call on Wildon UK. We can provide you with a range of drain solutions, restoring your drainage system to its original working order.

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