The City of Penticton, British Columbia has partnered with other Canadian municipalities, as well as the Municipal Enforcement Sewer Use Group (MESUG) and the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) to help raise awareness of flushable wipes and their damage to city wastewater systems.

So-called flushable wipes serve as a handy alternative to traditional cleaning supplies, while offering the convenience of quick disposal. However, contrary to what is marketed, these wipes are not flushable, do not break down, and cause blockages to the turbines and pumps that keep sewer systems running.

“Like most wastewater water utilities around the world, the City of Penticton has seen an increase with wipes incorrectly described as flushable causing issues in the pipes and pumping stations of our wastewater system,” said Waste Water Supervisor, Randy Craig. “This presents a significant maintenance and repair cost to city taxpayers and can block pipes which can lead to wastewater overflows into homes.”

The growing coalition of municipalities and associations aims to create an enforceable standard for municipalities that will work to eliminate the abundance of flushable wipes in wastewater systems across the country. To achieve this end, the coalition has requested that Canadian wastewater utilities contribute to a common fund for the further work of the ISO (international standard) and International Water Services Flushability Group (IWSFG).

“There’s a big problem lurking in our sewers, and the City needs your help. Please let your family and friends know to never flush any wipes down the toilet, even if they are claimed to be flushable, but instead dispose of them in the garbage,” said Craig.

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MESUG estimates more than $250 million of Canadian Taxpayer money is spent annually to address issues caused by baby wipes, disinfectant wipes, and other allegedly flushable materials.

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