Dave Chidley, The Canadian Press
Barry Orr City of London Ontario shows a flushable wipe clog

Canadian water authorities attack 'flushable' wipes

Dec. 12, 2013
Wastewater authorities are frustrated that their entreaties to government officials are not being heard. Water authorites say that dealing with the mess caused by the wipes is costing $250 million a year. Along with their U.S. counterparts, the Canadian parties are asking for standardized testing of wipes along with a formal definition of "flushable."

CONTRACTOR magazine plumbing columnist Dave Yates is dead on (when is he not?) when he said that "flushable" bathroom wipes are not really flushable. Some of you might have seen this story a few months ago on CBS News and NPR about the 15 ton glob of congealed fat and baby wipes that was clogging the London sewer system. Now Canadian water authorities are dealing with their own butt wipe related mess.

On the Canadian Press site TheSpec.com, reporter Lee-Ann Goodman wrote:

The wipes — billed as a cleaner alternative to toilet paper that's perfectly OK to flush down the toilet — are giving many municipalities fits as they grapple with costly clogs. Personal wipes are a $6-billion industry in North America, with experts predicting sales will soar by as much as six per cent annually over the next five years. Canadian municipalities, however, say the wipes are costing ratepayers as much as $250 million a year.

Candian authorities, along with their U.S. counterparts, want standardized testing of "flushable" wipes and a standardized definition of what constitutes "flushable." The Canadians point out (politely, because they are, after all, Canadian) that just because the product disappears from your toilet bowl doesn't mean it's really flushable.

The water authorities are tired of having their sewage pumps clogged.

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