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Date Published:

February 16, 2015


Flushable Wipes: The Scourge of Edmonton Plumbers and Homeowners Alike

Wet wipes are indispensable supplies for most people. They provide handy sanitizing when needed, and can be disposed of just as quickly. Nowadays, people are hooked on using a special kind of wet wipe, the so-called “flushable” wet wipe that’s specifically made for being flushed down the drain after use.

Or are they? Are “flushable” wet wipes really as their name claims them to be? If you ask local Edmonton plumbers from firms such as Capital Plumbing & Heating Ltd., chances are they’re not likely to agree. A troubled waste treatment plant in the Durham region should be able to explain why.

The administrators of the plant gave a short tour to CBC News reporter Lorenda Reddekopp, who reported that of the tons of debris harbored at the plant, one thing’s certainly got the attention of the plant’s managers: the so-called “flushable” wipes.

They pointed out that “flushable” wipes not only wrought havoc in residential plumbing but to their industrial equipment as well—forcing them to do extensive repairs or even replacement of parts, which easily cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And it’s not just the Durham treatment plant that’s being ravaged by these “flushable” wipes. In  2013, a vile mass of congealed fat and wet wipes the size of a jumbo jet (aptly called “Fatberg”) clogged the streets of west London, which took weeks to break down. In the U.S., the wet wipe clogging problem got well out of hand in a western New York town—sewer workers had to set up traps to catch the wipes.

Companies may pitch their products as “flushable,” but apparently it means only that the wipes won’t clog the pipes, but it doesn’t mean they will completely break down. The website Consumer Reports pitted flushable wipes against a sheet of toilet paper, and had interesting results. 

It was revealed that the toilet paper took only eight seconds to completely dissolve in moving water; while the wipes stayed intact even after 30 minutes. Some brands even stayed intact even after a full 12 hours of being submerged.

Bottom line is, “flushable” wipes do plumbing systems no favors at all. They’re even potent enough to wreck industrial-grade waste treatment equipment, which means even worse and terrible concerns for home plumbing. If you’ve been disposing of these flushable wipes for quite some time now, it’s best to call on skilled Stony Plain plumbers, such as Capital Plumbing & Heating Ltd. You might already be dealing with a “fatberg” and you don’t even know it.

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Capital Plumbing and Heating was founded in 2001 in Edmonton, Alberta, and our main office is still located there. We proudly serve Edmonton and surrounding areas as emergency plumbing service providers in Edmonton.

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