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Town of Marblehead
Abbot Hall
188 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA 01945
Don't Flush Non-Degradables
Don't Flush Non-Degradable Material Down the Toilet

Did you know that flushing non-degradable debris down your commode can end up causing very costly sewer backups in your home and damage the sewer department’s equipment?


     With the recent upsurge in the popularity of so-called “disposable” wipes, many are being flushed down the toilet and enter the town’s sanitary sewer system.

     The problem with flushing these wipes—baby wipes, cleaning wipes, sanitizing wipes and all of the other types of wipes— and even dental floss is that they get caught in the impellers of the sewer pumps and have to be removed manually. They can not only cause damage to the pumps but could also result in a backup if they cause the pump to shut down.

     And they can clog sewer lines coming into your home causing a backup of sewerage into your home. Since the homeowner is responsible for maintenance of sewer pipes from the sewer main on into their residence, the cost of clearing the lines (and any cleanup) would be at the homeowners expense.

      Even the wipes that promote themselves as being biodegradable cause problems because they get to the pumps long before they dissolve. And dental floss wraps itself around the impellers, causing damage.

     The wipes may be convenient and using dental floss may be healthy but they’re not flushable. They should be disposed of with your household trash.

     And it’s not only wipes and floss that can clog the system. Diapers, dinner napkins, paper towels and other heavy-weight, non-degradable materials that are not meant to be disposed of by flushing can cause damage. Believe it or not, a full-size tablecloth was recently found entangled in a pump impeller—honestly.

     Other materials recently found clogging the system include a bed sheet, towels and a pair of pantyhose—with a ribbon attached.

      Really, the only thing that should be flushed down the toilet is bathroom tissue made for that purpose.

     Remember: “Disposable” doesn’t necessarily mean “flushable.