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Out of Toilet Paper? Be careful of what you flush.

Once the COVID-19 virus started, it was interesting to see that the Toilet Paper was one of the first things to go from the shelves and if you go in the stores still today there is a limited supply.  Other than that, as more kids are home, “science experiments” may include the old question – “Will this flush or not?” 

Toilet paper is one of those things that we use daily.  But if there is a need to use something else, consider finding a different way to dispose of it instead of flushing it down the toilet.  In a story from England titled Coronavirus: Toilet roll alternatives blocking sewers, the water authority discusses that things other than toilet paper can have a very bad outcome if flushed.  The reason things other than toilet paper are not good to flush is the structure of these products.  Toilet paper is thin and will easily flush.  Things like newspaper and other paper products higher in cellulose are not designed to easily breakdown.  So, I hear you, what about “Flushable wipes” and the wet wipes.  These should not be flushed either.  The structure of these also are not made to flush.  You may say that you are not on a septic tank system but rather on a city sewer system and it should not matter as much.  Well here is a news report that discusses this issue about why the wipes should not be flushed.

There are basically three things that should be flushed, the three P’s – Pee, Poo, toilet Paper.

Back to the “science experiment”, one thing you could do as a science experiment is take toilet paper and a flushable wipe, put water and equal amounts of toilet paper and flushable wipes in two different mixing bowls and let the kids stir the bowls with the toilet paper and the flushable wipes and see how long each one takes to fully breakdown.  If all works out, the toilet paper will breakdown in a few seconds and the flushable wipe will take minutes. Click here to do see how they run one science experiment.

Remember the three P’s – Pee, Poo, toilet Paper, all other things should be disposed of in the trashcan.

For more information and stories about protecting septic system systems and wastewater systems see the Water at UGA website at https://site.extension.uga.edu/water/ and subscribe.