The City of Peterborough is urging residents to dispose all baby wipes, sanitary wipes, and disinfectant wipes in the garbage.

“These wipes are being incorrectly marketed as flushable,” warned Daryl Stevenson, supervisor of wastewater treatment at the City of Peterborough. “They can cause serious blockages and result in property damage and flooding. Only flush the 3 P’s—pee, poop, and toilet paper.”

Wipes that were flushed down toilets caused a plug in the screening system of the City of Peterborough’s wastewater treatment system on March 31, 2020.

The plug caused a backup of raw sewage within the system. There was no spillage, but the system had to be cleared for treatment to continue. Other localized blockages have occurred in multiple areas of the City.

Wipes and other materials do not break down enough to pass through the sewage treatment process and can plug sewers, pumps, and screening mechanisms. However, toilet paper is manufactured to break down in the sewer system without causing blockages.

Pictured: The City of Peterborough’s wastewater treatment plant. Image Credit: City of Peterborough.

The City of Peterborough is reminding residents to follow the recommendations below:

  • Do not flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Never flush baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, tissues, napkins, diapers, condoms, cigarette butts, or other items.
  • Never pour fat, oil, or grease into drains or toilets. They build up over time cause sewer backups.
  • Never use the toilet or sink to dispose of hazardous products or medications. Peterborough residents can take these products to the Household Hazardous Waste and Electronic Waste Drop-off facility at 400 Pido Road. This facility is operating under revised public hours Wednesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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