Plumbing

Do not flush wipes or your own home plumbing would possibly grow to be clogged, North Bay officers warn amid COVID-19 outbreak

NOVATO, Calif. (KGO) – The large number of people using sanitary wipes to disinfect during the coronavirus outbreak threatens sewage treatment plants, and officials say the wipes can even pose a hazard to your home plumbing.

The dramatic video, captured Friday morning by the Novato sanitary district, shows water spurting from sewage treatment plants clogged with cloths and many other used cloths all over the floor.

“We were basically faced with a deluge of towels,” said General Manager Sandeep Karkal.

RELATED: Coronavirus Map: Updated Numbers of COVID-19 Cases, Deaths in the San Francisco Bay Area

Wipes don’t break down in sewer systems and have been clogging pipes and sewage plants for years, but officials fear the problem will suddenly get much worse.

Sewage gushed from a manhole cover on a street in San Rafael earlier this week.

Mike Prinz, general manager of Los Gallinas Valley Sanitary District, blames what he calls “non-flushable” which clogged the pipes and caused the spillage.

RELATED: How to Properly Clean Your Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Prinz says it’s important that people stop flushing products that aren’t made to go to the bathroom. In addition to cloths, paper towels and serviettes should also not be washed. Your own home can also be at risk.

“The pipe you’re blocking may actually be your own pipe, and in that case your toilet won’t flush, your shower won’t drain, your sink will reset,” said Prinz. “We are obviously facing a really difficult time, but things could get worse if you had a backup for your house too.”

Novato Sanitary District uses a slogan to remind people not to use their toilet as a trash can. “Just flush the three Ps. Pee, Poop and TP (toilet paper).”

The California Water Resources Board says that towels should never be flushed, even if the label says they are flushable.

The mess caused by the wipes in the Novato sanitary district was in a restricted access area and there was no danger to the public.

Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All rights reserved.

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