The City of Abilene has been working this past year to educate our community about the harm of pouring fats, oil and grease down the drain, and it's had a big impact. In 2018 grease was the primary instigator in approximately 83% of overflow incidents. As 2019 comes to an end, that percentage has significantly dropped to 50% with 21 overflows due to grease; that's a record low for Abilene! However, we still have an issue with messy, expensive, preventable overflows due to so-called flushable wipes.
Yes, flushable wipes are wreaking havoc on our sewer system, locally and around the world. Although manufacturers know they do not disintegrate to sewer-safe standards, flushable wipes continue to be mass marketed and sold as if they do. Multiple lawsuits have been filed against wipe companies, and those who purchase and use them are being given a false sense of being environmentally-friendly.
Once flushed, these wipes enter your drain, and because they do not biodegrade quickly, they get stuck. When other things enter the pipe (hair, toothpaste, grease, etc), they adhere to the wipe, and before you know it, a giant clog is created. This is also known as a "fatberg", and they can grow to an incredible size and weight. If you regularly flush these wipes down the toilet, it is very possible that a large clog will form and cause sewage to back up into the home through a tub, sink, shower, toilet and/or other drain. It is as disgusting as it sounds. Clean up and repair is messy and expensive.
Add hundreds of neighbors also disposing flushable wipes down the toilet and you can imagine the Drainwreck the City has been increasingly experiencing. These lead to overflows that may cause street closures, temporary shutoff of the water supply in that area and large amounts of taxpayer dollars to clean up and repair.
Prevent a drainwreck from happening in your home and throughout Abilene by spreading the word to your family and close friends that flushable wipes are not flushable!