GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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November 9, 2012

Essex flush with sewage worries

ESSEX — Just because it says flushable doesn’t mean it is, Essex officials are noting.

Essex public works officials are urging residents to throw their baby wipes, cleaning towels, feminine hygiene products, and really anything except toilet paper in a garbage bin instead of down the porcelain flush.

”Although some products are labeled and marketed as disposable, such as baby wipes, this does NOT mean they can be flushed in the toilet,” the Department of Public Works wrote in a statement issued earlier this week.

Officials said products like Q-tips, toilet cleaning pads, paper towels, disposable diapers, and even dental floss clog up sewage pipes and pumps, causing overflows on private properties and at the town sewer system.

Toilet paper breaks down and disintegrates after swirling down the drain, but other products remain intact, bunch together and clog the system in the main collector lines as well as entangling themselves in pump stations, according to town officials.

These clog ups become costly as the town pays to repair or replace equipment harmed by the flushed products.

“The home or business owner is responsible to keep their portion clear to ensure no backups of wastewater,” the public works statement noted. “Save yourself and your sewer utility from costly repairs and or replacement bills. Do not flush the listed items; place them in the trash, not the toilet.”

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at mnesin@gloucestertimes.com.

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