Pexels / Anna Shvets
Toilet paper, while a hard-to-find commodity right now, dissolves in sewer pipes, unlike wipes and paper towels.
Panic buying of toilet paper during the coronavirus crisis has created an unforeseen consequence for the Alamo City's sewer system.
In the absence of Charmin and Cottenelle, people are using — how do we put this delicately? — alternative wiping methods
to get the job done. And when folks flush items such as baby wipes and paper towels, they clog the pipes.
“A flushable wipe is an oxymoron. There’s no such thing," Anne Hayden, a spokeswoman for the San Antonio Water System, told KSAT News
. "Unfortunately, manufacturers are able to make the claim."
Toilet paper dissolves in sewage pipes but tissues, paper towels and wipes don't. That's led municipalities across the country to deal with a clog crisis.
Here's the problem: wipes snag on rough surfaces in pipes, where they're glommed onto by their flushed buddies, Hayden told the TV station. When kitchen grease travels the pipe, it combines with the wadded wipes to create a concrete-like obstruction.
Doesn't sound like fun to clean up, right?
But beyond the dirty job concerns, Hayden told KSAT that dispatching crews to wade around in sewage water during the pandemic puts them at risk.
The moral here? Think before you flush, San Antonio.
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