GARRETT — Flushing anything other than toilet paper can lead to clogs, failures or even a raw sewage backup in a home.

Wednesday, Garrett Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent Bruce Schlosser urged residents to not flush disinfecting wipes, “flushable” wipes, napkins or paper towels down toilets. Instead, those items should be thrown away.

The notice was posted on the City of Garrett’s Facebook page.

“The Wastewater Treatment Plant will be overwhelmed, and consumers will face in-home plumbing backups and blockages” if residents flush those items in the toilet, Schlosser explained.

“Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are aware of the increased use of ‘flushable’ wipes and flushing of non-flushable materials such as baby wipes, disinfecting wipes, napkins and paper towels.

“While the ‘flushable’ wipes concern is not new to wastewater facilities, we are instructing our community members to pay extra attention to what they are using and flushing, and to remind you not to flush anything other than toilet paper,” he added. “Wipes and paper towels do not break down like toilet paper, and therefore clog systems very quickly.

“The COVID-19 outbreak concern has created additional stress and uncertainty for everyone, and while we understand that supply shortages exacerbate these stresses and challenges, it is important to keep in mind that flushing anything other than toilet paper can create expensive and unsanitary problems for homeowners and businesses.

“Flushing wipes — even those labeled ‘flushable’ — and other non-toilet-paper materials causes clogs, backups, equipment and pipe breakages, and in bad cases, can even force raw sewage back into peoples’ homes,” Schlosser said. “The cost to repair these damages is unfortunately borne by individual homeowners or the public.”

He asked anyone with questions to contact the wastewater plant at 357-5449 or, after hours, to call 553-0699.

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