Last month at the Flatiron, wastewater expert Barry Orr demonstrated the difference between what's "flushable" and what's really flushable.
The product in question? Flushable wipes.
But flushable wipes aren't the only things backing up pipes. Condoms, feminine hygiene products, dental floss, baby wipes, cotton swabs, and hair are just a few of the other objects found wedged in piped. Fatbergs, or cooking grease, is another costly concern municipalities should be preparing for.
Canada has 3,700 wastewater facilities. Each of them budget approximately $80,000 per year for clogs caused by flushable wipes and other non-flushable items.
Individual clogs like the one Krystyn experienced can be quite costly. Canada is spending over $250 million every year on this problem alone. And the flushable wipes industry is growing. By 2016, it will be worth $2.5 billion.
Every time a wastewater facility backs up, raw sewage bypasses into lakes and rivers. Currently, sewage bypass notifications don't exist. Swimmers, paddlers, boaters, people fishing – recreational water users have no way of knowing what they're jumping in to.
What can you flush down the toilet?
Barry Orr calls them the 3 P's: pee, poop, and (toilet) paper.
Everything else? Toss it in the garbage.
This one conscious effort can protect you, your wallet, your home, and your community.