In the recent past, there has been an upsurge in the uptake of the disposable wipes from around the world. In USA and UK, a whopping 80 percent of the homes have the disposable wet wipes in the
. Most people, looking for a better level of hygiene, do not find the toilet paper enough. bathrooms
Unfortunately, even with the futuristic level of health, these disposable wipes are to blame for the rise in the blockage in various sewerage systems around the world and frequent toilet repair requests.
How Did the Wipes Become So Popular?
The story of the wipes started when Proctor and Gamble together with Kimberly-Cark introduced pre-moistened toilet paper to use alongside the dry toilet paper. Owing to their marketing strategies and visibility, the product gained acceptance around the world.
Soon, the other brands joined in and moistened paper that could fit in the toilet dispenser was born.
Nowadays most people feel that the conventional toilet paper is not convenient without the wipes. The wipes are famed for deeper cleaning. A recent study found that of fifty percent of the adults use the wipes alongside the regular toilet paper. On the other hand, companies have improved on the wipes and made more of cleansing clothing rather than the biodegradable version.
The Sewer Problem
The nonwoven cleaning wipes have been getting stuck in sewer machinery and sewer pipes around the world from New York, Washington DC, Toronto, San Francisco, London, Sydney to many other cities around the world and proving to be very expensive.
According to the New York City Department of Environment Protection, about 18 million dollars a year goes into unblocking the sewer pipes, drain cleaning, and repairing the damaged systems from the use of the disposable wipes. The office explains that the problems happen downstream. Even if the wipes are not getting stuck in the lavatory or the house sewer piping or even across the street, it eventually gets to the treatment plant where rayon and viscose strands join it.
The commissioner of the department explained that in Ney York alone, the wipes and other non-biodegradable waste had gone to a hundred thousand cubic yards a month. The treatment plants are choking in the weight of the synthetic fibers leading to the increase in the frequency of sewerage problems experienced in many cities.
A recent study found that a dry toilet sheet took about eight seconds to disintegrate. However, a wipe only frayed a half an hour later. When computing the cost of using the wipes, the report found that the cost of flushable wipe was about a dollar with the value of the sheet being 0.1 of a dollar and the rest being taken up by the toilet repair.
The areas with the old cast iron pipes take a bigger beating as the interiors of the pipes are more likely to be rough, thus holding on to the walls. Most of the wipes that market as being flushable do not break down as expected and brings problems down the sewer lines.
According to Thames Water, one of the London biggest sewerage solutions company, flushable wipes were the leading cause of the London’s gigantic fatberg in 2013.
The 15-ton lump made of grease and other non-biodegradable materials messed up the London’s sewer system and took over three weeks to dismantle and dispose of. The company adds that fat and wet wipes are the leading cause of sewer problems in London and most of the England cities.
In the recent past, New York has faced a big stink, which forced the sewerage companies to spend millions in drain cleaning and repairing the equipment. Even before the wipes came to being, the city’s sewer facilities were already overstretched due to high growth in population and storms. However, with the increased use of the wet wipes the sewer management authorities are grappling with a severe drainage problem and constant blockages.
To Flush or Not to Flush
Unfortunately, most of the consumers do not know which wipes to clean and which not to flush. Most of the manufacturers market their wipes as flushable knowing too well that the wipes would never disintegrate.
Only a few are honest and advise the consumers not to flush the wipes. Recently the International Nonwovens and Disposable Association together with their European partners published a voluntary code of practice that required its members, to explicitly tell the clients not to flush the wipes that were not supposed to head to the sewer.
The law is not binding and does not specify where to put the instructions. Some manufacturers are taking advantage of this and putting the words in areas where an average consumer may not notice.
Also, no regulatory body has set standards to determine the wipes that are flushable and those that are not. Thus, most manufacturers that claim that their wipes are flushable are not sure of it. Most of these wipes end up bringing problems to the sewer system.
New York arm of the Federal Trade Commission is taking an aim at companies that are under labeling and giving wrong facts to their clients. It is imposing fines on businesses that claim that their wipes are flushable when they are not.
A while back, a manufacturer by the name Nicer-Pak was fined for advertising that their products were safe to flush when in fact they were not. After the settlement, the company leads in labeling their products in a way that the customers can notice.
Even the flushable wipes are too thick and made from materials that are too loud for the sewer systems. This means that even if they reach the treatment plant, they are less likely to breakdown in real time for convenient disposal. Compatible flushable wipes should be those that lose strength rapidly and break apart after being flushed down the sewer. Since distinguishing the wipes that are flushable and those that are not is a tall order, it would be good to rename flushable wipes and tell the consumers to desist from flushing any wipes.
For plumbing services in the Wenatchee, WA city, please contact Allied Plumbing & Pumps at (509) 662-6622.