Halifax raises a stink about 'flushable' wipes clogging sewers, costing millions
Rob Villee, executive director of the Plainfield Area Regional Sewer Authority in New Jersey, holds up a wipe he flushed through his test toilet in his office, Middlesex, N.J., Friday, Sept. 20, 2013. (Julio Cortez/AP)
Halifax Water is issuing a public service announcement advocating for the use of regular toilet paper over so-called "flushable wipes," which it says are clogging up Canada's waste-water utilities to the tune of about $250 million a year.
Officials say flushable wipes don't break down as they travel down the drain, but instead get caught in waste-water treatment filters and clog up pumps.
The waste-water utility says the wipes can cause costly repairs and lead to sewage backups in homes.
The statement was accompanied by a three-minute online video from Planifax, an educational non-profit about urban planning, that shows Halifax waste-workers raking out undecomposed waste from a treatment plant.
Halifax Water is urging people to dispose of the towelettes by dumping them in the garbage.
Halifax is one of a handful of Canadian cities -- including Toronto, Metro Vancouver and Fredericton -- that have launched campaigns against flushing these moist towelletes.
More than a dozen lawsuits have been launched in the United States against manufacturers, claiming damages to individual or municipal sewer systems.