The City of Kelowna is urging its residents to properly dispose of disinfecting wipes in the garbage — not the toilet.
The products have seen increased usage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted worry from the city about the increased flushing of the wipes — which “wreak havoc” on residential pipes, according to Ed Hoppe, the city’s water quality and customer care supervisor.
“We share residents’ concerns about the current situation and recognize that everyone is taking extra precautions to ensure that hands and surfaces are clean and disinfected,” he said.
Hoppe said while cleanliness is important, it’s also necessary to remember any type of disposable wipe, including baby wipes and wipes that are labelled as flushable, must go into the garbage and not be flushed into the sewer system.
Such items contribute to troublesome clogs because they do not break down the same way that toilet paper does. A clog can cause a residential system back-up resulting in localized flooding and property damage.
More significant clogs at the wastewater treatment facility can damage infrastructure resulting in costly repairs and potential interruptions in essential service.