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Are “Flush-able” Wipes Safe to Flush”

Companies market flush-able wipes to the United States as a ” sewer and septic-safe” alternative to toilet paper, paper towels, and other cleaning supplies. In the media and in court rooms around the US, there has been a fight between sewer companies, cities, and the businesses selling these products about the validity of those claims.

The cities, sewer companies, and water treatment plants’ arguments are based upon the fact they deal with city/town wide sewer backups constantly. Plumbers and the sewer companies alike snake sewer mains and drains, and remove massive blockages of wipes on a daily basis. Most of the cases show no other reason for the block forming besides the wipes. Ryerson University tested 23 different types of “flush-able” wet wipes, and results showed, “Not one single wipe was able to fall apart or disperse safely through the sewer system test, which can negatively impact household plumbing, municipal sewage infrastructure, and consequently, the environment.”

“Flush-able” wipes are tough to breakdown. You can even test this in your own home. Take a sheet or two of toilet paper, soak it with water, and then rub it between your hands. The paper will begin to break off, separate, and break down. Now try the same thing with wet wipes, they would stay solid and not breakdown for a very long time. The wipes may be safe to flush, but the “safety” stops as soon as they exit your toilet. This Consumer Reports study showed several different brands’ wipes, and the ease they breakdown in water. As stated in the study, “When we put them in a stand mixer filled with water and pushed the slowest speed (more churning than your waste pipe will provide), it took at least 10 minutes to break each into small pieces.”

Johnson & Johnson, Proctor and Gamble, and Kimberly-Clark, maintain that the flush-able wipes are not the problem, but instead are caused by non-flushable wipes such as baby wipes and makeup removal wipes. The Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, a trade association for the previously listed companies,  released a set of guidelines that wipes need to pass in order to be deemed “flushable”. However, sewer authorities argued the guidelines are skewed to allow the manufacturers’ wipes to pass.

The argument between the two conflicting sides seems to have no end in sight. Charmin settled a class action law suit that accused the company of false advertising wipes as “septic and sewer safe”. However, there have been plenty of other law suits that have failed. Consumers and lawmakers question the legality of making similar claims. There is no governing body to place fair tests on the subject. Which creates the back and forth between the two sides about the legitimacy/fairness of each other’s tests.

In conclusion, Zeek Plumbing agrees with the sewer companies that flushing wipes down your drains is never a good thing. The only things that should be flushed down the toilet are human waste, #1 and #2, and toilet paper. Avoid flushing anything else possible. “Flush-able” wipes cause the majority of backups that Zeek Plumbing comes in contact with. However, customers seem shocked to find out the cause of the backup and state, “I don’t flush wipes down the drain.” If you hire people to clean your home, I would check they do not flush them either. Dispose of every type of wipe in the trash. Is the convenience of flushing wipes more important than preventing a sewer main backup?

If you are experiencing a backup, please call us at 866-635-0200. Zeek Plumbing can dispatch a crew as soon as possible to your home/property. However, if you are experiencing frequent backups, Zeek Plumbing can camera your sewer main. Similar to the snake, we send a camera down your sewer showing any and all causes of the backups.

5-STAR GOOGLE REVIEWS FROM OUR CUSTOMERS

Great customer service. I had a problem with my toilet and they came out the same day to repair. Would definitely recommend
Frank D.
I had an emergancy and Zeek took care of it immediately and on short notice. Technicians were very proffessional. I will definetly use them again and will recomnend them to friends and family. Thier pricing was great also.
Michael A.
We highly recommend Zeek Plumbing! Within 24 hours of calling, Tim and Oliver arrived on time to replace our hot water heater and they were professional, polite and thorough. They worked quick (not fast) and clean and also corrected the prior improper installation of the overflow tank. Ryan even followed up to ensure we were happy and finalized all necessary paperwork. Everyone went above and beyond our expectations. Great job Zeek Plumbing, thank you!
Mary Alice S.
I recently had an almost fully clogged kitchen sink drain. I called Zeek Plumbing early in the morning and got a recording. I decided to not leave a message and would call back later. They took it upon themselves to call me back after seeing my number in their missed calls log. I explained the situation and was told they'd take care of it within a week; they arrived later that afternoon. The technician, Tim, and his partner (I unfortunately did not catch his name), worked incredibly hard to unclog the drain. They used multiple augers and auger heads, eventually running the snake 56 feet into the line until they finally were able to break through the clog after nearly three hours. Other technicians would likely have given up after a couple tries and recommend digging up the pipe, but Tim and his partner kept at it until the job was done. Tim asked me two or three times if I was satisfied with the job before he left. Pure professionalism all around. It got pricey in the end, but you get what you pay for. I couldn't recommend them more.
Michael T.
Thank you, Zeek Plumbing, for your quick response and excellent service on a water heater installation from June 2022.Tim came out the same day that I called when our hot water heater sprung a leak making a mess of the basement (other local companies I had called stated they were unable to come until 1-2 days later). He was so kind & knowledgeable! We had the choice to replace parts on our old unit, and possibly have to wait 2+ weeks for parts due to COVID supply chain issues, or replace the unit entirely. Tim took the time to explain the pros & cons to both without pressuring us. Steve gave us a quote over the phone and ultimately we chose to replace with a new Bradford White. Richard & Oliver showed up the following morning at 8AM. Service was quick, they left the area clean, and price was fair.
Jeannette F.
I had a good experience with Zeek. I contacted them to install a water softener. They put me in touch with the supplier, who tested by water and recommended a system. Then Zeek installed it. Rich patiently walked me through the ins-and-outs, and they were finished in just a few hours.I note that Zeek had to push back the installation date because they were late ordering of the water softener. But they apologized, set a new date, and got it all done. We all make mistakes; but it's those (like Zeek) that take responsibility and fix the issue that deserve repeat business.I'm already contacting Zeek again for other work that needs doing!
JC C
I had Zeek plumbing come. A guy Bill came and realized he could not do the job since cabinet had tiny opening for tiny person so he called another staff member to come. He knew exactly what the problem was . At first I thought maybe he did not want to do job or I had to call another company. I said to myself let me see and got call stating Oliver was going to do it but Tim would also help. They both came out and I liked both of them. They were both very nice , professional and fixed the problem . They were their for about an hour and a half and ended out charging me they said for 1 hour. I will know for sure when I get a bill from credit card , they gave me no paper statement or bill just told me verbally what I was going to be charged . I was recommended to use this company from my electrician . I recommend that a plumber always put paper or plastic boots on in front of customer. Their boots can really make marks on floors or carpet . Most customers would appreciate this and it is also a sign of respect for property . I recommend this company and would use them again soon .
shari G.
Zeek Plumbing's crew was on time, and fixed every issue I had. Reasonably priced and easy to communicate with. Nice, neat and knowledgeable guys. THANK YOU!
Manny R.
My new go-to for any plumbing needs. Everything about this experience was perfect. Bill was great!
Chris T.
Steve and his crew responded in hours. Bill was incredibly knowledgeable and courteous. Could not have been happier!!!
maureen D.
Had a great experience today with Zeek plumbing. Rich and Nick stopped by because my boiler was smoking and releasing smell into the basement. Turns out there were a few other things wrong with it. It’s a 30 year old unit that needs replacing but that’s not going to be for a while so I really needed the service. My appointment was scheduled for 8am and they were here at 7:53 which was great. Rich showed me everything he was doing as he fixed things and did his best to explain everything to me although honestly everything went right over my head. Still though I highly appreciated the explanation of everything! I’m happy to say that the boiler is running like a brand new unit. No odor, no delay and it was all done very quickly! I think the price was reasonable considering they were here for two hours. Also thought it was awesome that Rich played with my Dog and pet my ferret! Haha anyhow. I highly recommend these guys, very high level of professionalism. I had another company come out a few months ago for similar issue and it was not fixed at all… and the other things that Rich identified that should have been fixed were left to rot essentially. Anyway I highly recommend Zeek for your plumbing needs. They did a great job.
Leo S.
I highly recommend using Zeek Plumbing & Mechanical. They respond quickly to phone calls, are punctual and very knowledgeable about all aspects of your plumbing needs and concerns. Rich is personable and is an expert at completing the job from start to finish.
Geri

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