Cleaning and disinfectant wipes flushed into the sanitary system will clog a Sanitary District pump. Photo courtesy of Fountain Hills Sanitary District

The Fountain Hills Sanitary District would like to remind residents of the community, DO NOT flush wipes of any kind down the drain. Please dispose of used wipes in the trash.

COVID-19 is causing much anxiety in our community, county, and the world. The Sanitary District is highly aware of the current climate of the great toilet paper panic. Rest assured, the Sanitary District is fully staffed, and the treatment plant is ready to handle the expected increase in toilet paper. However, it is not designed to handle wipes – of any kind.

The Sanitary District would like to remind the community that just because the packaging on disposable wipes says, “flushable,” does not mean they are degradable. The wipes do not break down as they travel through the sewer on the way to the treatment plant. Toilet paper is specifically designed to breakdown as it travels.

The fibrous material in wipes can get caught up on the smallest thing and starts to collect, creating a significant back-up in the sewer system.

The beautiful mountainous terrain of Fountain Hills requires numerous wastewater pump stations to pump collected sewage over hills to convey it to the wastewater treatment plant. These pumps cannot pass large volumes of wipes, which clog the internal parts, and eventually cause costly repairs.

Similarly, many homes have a sump pump system on their private property to pump their waste up to the main sewer line in the street or easement. If a blockage occurs on private property, the property owner is the responsible for those repairs.