BENTON, KY — What items should you never flush down the toilet? You may think you know the answer, but a west Kentucky city says people are flushing many things they shouldn’t — causing “clogging issues.”
In response to problems with clogging in homes and businesses, as well as the city’s sewer system and wastewater treatment plant, the city of Benton is reminding folks what not to flush down the toilet or rinse down the drain with an informational sheet.
The city says the only things you should flush down the toilet are human waste, toilet paper and used water. That may seem like a no-brainer, but what are people commonly flushing — or pouring down the sink drain — that they shouldn’t?
Dental floss, cigarette butts, menstrual products, grease or oil, cotton swabs and Band-Aids are just some of the items on the city’s list. One item that might surprise you? Flushable wet wipes.
You can find wet wipes with the word “flushable” on the label sold right alongside toilet paper. Although the wipes do go down when you flush the toilet, they still clog drains and sewer systems. In a study published in March, researchers tested 23 single-use wipe products labelled “flushable” and found none of them fully disintegrate once flushed. The researchers with also tested 78 other single-use wipe products, including baby wipes, cleaning wipes and others. Out of all 101 products tested, only two of them even partially disintegrated. None of them fully disintegrated.
As part of their conclusions, the researchers with Ryerson University in Ontario, Canada, noted: “Most of the products tested for drainline clearance did not clear the drainline in a single flush, sometimes requiring up to six (flushes).”
In Benton’s guide, the city warns that the items on it’s no-flush list often “do not make it past the lateral connection from your home to Benton’s sewer system. If they do happen to make it to the city’s sewer line, they can plug up the lines and damage the pipes and pumps that lead the sewage to the Waste Water Treatment Plant.”
The city says either way, repairs can be expensive.
We have included the city’s full guide on what not to flush below this story. To read more about the study on “flushable” wipes, click here.