Increase in hand wipes in city sewer system causing problems

Michelli Martin, communications director for the city of Monroe, has made a personal appeal to the public concerning an increase of hand wipes showing up in city sewer lines.

Martin says, hand wipes, unlike toilet paper, do not disintegrate and clog up the system.

In her letter to the public, Martin said:

“The City of Monroe’s sewer system is once again being clogged up with hand wipes. Wipes are generally used to disinfect surfaces and are being used heavily during the COVID-19 pandemic. The City is seeing a large increase in people disposing of these wipes in their toilets instead of in the garbage.

Wipes are generally made from a very tough material and are often soaked with cleaning chemicals and disinfectants.  Wipes act very differently in sewers as compared to toilet paper and do not readily disintegrate in water. When in the sewer system, these tougher, more resilient wipes create blockages, stop up pumps, cause sanitary system overflows (SSOs), and foul essential sewer equipment.

Blockages caused by wipes force sewer workers to remove these wipes in confined places often by hand.  This process is dangerous and costly.

The Monroe City sewer system is designed to carry only toilet paper and human waste.  Residents are being asked to dispose of wipes in the garbage.  Please do not flush them down the toilet.”