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City Urges Residents to Avoid Flushing Inappropriate Items

City of Poughkeepsie officials are asking residents to avoid flushing sanitary wipes even if the package states they are flushable. Other alternatives to toilet paper, such as paper towels and facial tissues, also should not be flushed in local sewer lines as people increase the use of certain products during the coronavirus crisis.

The City is working closely with Veolia North America, which operates and maintains the wastewater treatment plant, to educate people about the need to avoid flushing inappropriate items down their toilets.

Community members should pay extra attention to what they are flushing and not flush anything other than toilet paper, whether for personal hygiene purposes or for wiping and cleaning surfaces. Blockages to sewer lines can cause backups in your home or business.

Although many so-called “disposable” hand wipes are advertised as safe for flushing, they can cause backups in the system and contribute to the buildup of foreign materials. In some cases, they can attach to buildups of grease in the system and create large blockages called “fatbergs,” Veolia officials pointed out.

Here are some items that should not be flushed down sewer lines:

  • Paper towels
  • Napkins
  • Wet wipes/baby wipes
  • Facial tissues
  • As a general reminder, here are “dos and don’ts” for avoiding backups in local sewer lines:
  • Do not flush wipes, gloves, towels or other trash down the toilet, even if they’re labeled flushable.
  • Do not pour grease down kitchen sinks or toilets. Instead, put grease in a sealed non-recyclable container and throw it out with regular garbage.
  • Do not use the sink as a toilet or the toilet as a garbage disposal. Do reduce and reuse by using compostable or reusable makeup applicators such as cotton balls and cleaning supplies such as paper towels or rags.
  • Do toss dirty makeup, cleaning or baby wipes, tampons, sanitary pads and condoms into the trash.

Do recycle finished toilet rolls, cardboard packaging from toothpaste and toothbrushes, and plastic packaging from shampoos and shower gels.