Six Things to Never Flush Down the Toilet

VOORHEES, N.J.–([1])–It seems easy to dispose of almost anything in the toilet – flush, and
forget. But, flushing the wrong things down the toilet can cause some
serious and expensive problems for your home’s plumbing lines. It can
also cause even bigger problems in your local sewer system, from the
pipes running under the street outside your home, to the treatment
plant, which were designed to dispose and treat specific items. While it
might seem to make your daily life easier, putting the wrong thing down
the toilet can and do cause blockages, which take time money (yours’ and
taxpayers) to fix.

Diapers – Flushing diapers is more common than you might think.
But, diapers will clog a toilet, or an outgoing sewer line, in a
heartbeat. Disposable diapers should always go in the trash. You may
believe that just one diaper flushed down the toilet shouldn’t be a
problem. However, most disposable diapers are made from a material that
is designed to expand when it comes in contact with water. Even if one
actually gets down your toilet’s line, it can get easily get caught in
the system’s turns and bends, causing a backup of the sewer into your
house. Sewer company workers frequently have to unblock sewer pipes that
are clogged with diapers – not a pleasant job.

Bathroom Wipes/Moist Towelettes — These are popular for wiping
babies’ bottoms and are found in most bathrooms and nurseries today.
They are not toilet paper. They are thicker and sturdier, and do not
easily break down in water. They are manufactured for durability and
cannot be torn as easily as toilet paper. Many brands today are marketed
as “flushable.” Despite this, they still cause sewer clogs and backups.
The problem is that if you have just a small clog in the pipes, these
flushable wipes quickly add to the size of the clog and the growing
problem, leading to expensive home plumbing repairs down the line.
Flushing wipes down the toilet can harm your household pipes, sewer
lines, as well as the sewer system’s pumps and filters.

Tampons and Sanitary Napkins —Flushing tampons and sanitary
napkins cause a great deal of the clogs and sewage backups in the home.
First, like disposable diapers, the absorbent nature of these products
makes them quickly become too thick for the plumbing. Second, cotton
snags easily. Any cracks or root infiltration in the pipes can cause the
cotton to get caught and clogged in the line. After just a few flushes,
buildup can occur and you can have a clog on your hands. This can result
in expensive home repairs, especially if the clog occurs in the line
between your toilet and the sewer pipe out under the street.

Cotton Balls & Swabs – It might seem like these tiny bathroom
items would just get soggy and eventually break down in the watery
pipeline, but they don’t. As mentioned earlier, cotton snags easily,
gathering in pipe bends and causing expensive blockages.

Paper Towels and Napkins — Paper towels are not designed to
break down in water like toilet paper. Flushing them can result in
blockages and expensive home plumbing problems.

Properly Dispose of Grease and Oil — Grease and fat from cooking
congeal once they cool down, turning into solid masses that block pipes
and cause serious sewage problems. When washed down the drain, grease
and oil can adhere to the insides of the pipes that carry the wastewater
from homes and businesses to the sewer treatment facility. Over time,
this buildup of grease can restrict the flow of wastewater, or worse
yet, block the homeowners’ or utility’s sewer pipes. These blockages can
lead to sewage overflows or backups in your home.

New Jersey American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water
(NYSE: AWK) is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state,
providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to
approximately 2.5 million people. Founded in 1886, American Water is the
largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With
headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs approximately 6,000
dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other
related services to an estimated 14 million people in more than 40
states, as well as parts of Canada. More information can be found by


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