KAPOLEI – The City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Environmental Services (ENV) is reminding the public not to put wipes and other disinfectant products down the toilet. Such products do not breakdown in the wastewater system and can cause backups and spills. The city sewer system is designed to only transport water, toilet paper and human waste to a wastewater treatment plant.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, the public is encouraged to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for cleaning surfaces with disinfecting wipes to reduce the spread of COVID-19; however, it is very important to place all wipes in the garbage and not in the toilet.
Flushable wipes, baby wipes, disinfectant wipes, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, and similar materials must be discarded in your regular opala and not flushed down the toilet to the city’s sewer system. All of these items will clog the homeowner’s main lateral before it reaches the city pipes, or could clog a sewer pipe, wastewater pump station or treatment plant causing a health risk of raw sewage spilling into the environment and place public health at risk during the coronavirus pandemic.
“All wipes and paper towels do not break down in the sewer system,” ENV Director Lori Kahikina said. “The packaging may say they are ‘flushable,’ but they truly are not as they do not breakdown in the system.”
Wipes are not just a Honolulu problem, but a national problem for about a decade. Preventing sewer spills, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is vital for the protection of public health and the environment.
ENV asks all residents on Oahu not to flush anything down the toilet except the 3 Ps – Pee, Poop, toilet Paper.
ENV’s PSA on Flushables “Don’t Wipe Out Our Island”