City of Jackson to residents: “Don’t flush your wipes!”

“Making sure sewer mains are wipe-free is becoming a big duty for Public Works crews.”
Flushable wipes are clogging sewers, Jackson officials say
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 10:04 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 10, 2022 at 6:27 PM EST
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - The products may be marketed as “flushable wipes” but flushing personal care and cleaning wipes could cause major toilet trouble for you and your neighbors.

Recently, crews from Jackson’s Department of Public Works (DPW) have responded to a wave of sewer backups caused by these wipes.

In an effort to evade more “wipe worries,” DPW is asking residents to not flush wipes down toilets.

“Instead of a break down able paper.. they’re a synthetic. And they just don’t dissolve or breakdown. They stay solid.” said Randy Lybarger, Foreman for the Department of Public Works. “Once they get down in the pipe they don’t breakdown and dissolve into the matter that will actually flow down the pipe.”

“Making sure sewer mains are wipe-free is becoming a big duty for Public Works crews. One sewer line on the City’s southeast side has been flushed out six times over the past year due to wipe woes,” the city said in a statement.

The products build up in sewer lines and can cause big clogs, which could send sewer contributions back into homes. Larger, more significant clogs can also have the potential for neighbors to experience sewer backups.

Related: Proposed bill would remove barriers in replacing lead pipes in Michigan

Director of Public Works Mike Osborn says even though the labels on the packaging say “flushable,” the wipes do not dissolve like toilet paper.

“These wipes take longer to break down, meaning they bind together and can easily cause sewer backups,” Osborn said. “Only toilet paper and human waste should be flushed. Wipes should always be disposed of in a trash can.”

DPW says other materials including diapers, hygiene products, even towels, and rags have been known to cause sewer problems and should not be flushed.

See the gallery below for what the Jackson DPW crews have found so far.

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