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Wait, don't flush that!
What should be common knowledge on what is and is not appropriate to flush down the toilet is wreaking havoc on sewer systems everywhere. Southern Trust Home Services, southern Virginia's leading HVAC company, is sharing its two cents and giving a list of 10 items to never flush down the toilet.
"We see it all the time," says Ted Puzio, who owns the company. "People flush lots of things down the toilet and don't think twice about the consequence until their toilet doesn't work anymore. We've found a lot of interesting items in clogged drains and think it's important to encourage people to be more careful with what they flush."
Sewage lines are connected throughout the city so flushed items affect a large area of people. "If just one person flushes one of these items, the whole community can experience problems," warns Ted. "A lot of the items on this list contain toxic materials that, when flushed, leak those toxins into the water supply. This is the same water that gets filtered to become drinking water and some of it goes back into the rivers, lakes, and oceans nearby that can be harmful to aquatic life."
Ted says that the following items should never be flushed:
* Sanitary and baby wipes: "Unfortunately, the majority of these wipes say they're flushable on the package, but they're not," he warns. "The fibres in the wipes are much thicker than those of toilet paper so they don't break down the same way."
* Anything cotton: "Just like sanitary wipes, cotton does not break down enough to make it through the pipes," he advises. "Eventually, it gets stuck in a pipe turn and causes a backup."
* Paper Towels: "It may seem okay to flush paper towels because they are of the same nature as toilet paper, but flushed paper towels are one of the leading causes of clogged pipes," he says. "They're made to be ultra-absorbent and therefore are considerably thicker than toilet paper, even when wet."
* Cigarette butts: "Cigarettes are full of incredibly toxic chemicals that will seep into the water stream," he notes. "If these are not completely filtered out, they could end up in the water supply."
* Adhesive bandages: "They're made from non-biodegradable plastic, which is bad for the environment," he explains. "Also, adhesive bandages can easily stick to pipes and cause issues."
* Medications: "It may seem like flushing expired medication is the right thing to do, but since medicine contains any number of chemicals and toxins, it can be dangerous," he warns. "These chemicals are made to kill bacteria; which can have extreme effects on local wildlife and ecosystems."
* Dental floss: Waxed or unwaxed, don't flush it! Not only is floss not biodegradable, but it can also tangle up with other debris and turns small clogs into big ones," he explains. "If flushed into a septic tank, floss can wind itself around a motor and cause it to burn out."
* Kitty litter: "It may not seem that bad since it's cat waste, but kitty litter is made of clay and sand which will create major problems for plumbing," he says.
* Feminine hygiene products: "These products expand when they come in contact with liquid," says Ted. "This means, when flushed, they absorb more water and get stuck in the pipes."
* Fats, oils and grease: "Flushing food waste is a bad idea that will lead to any number of plumbing problems," he says. "When hot, these products are in a liquid state, but once they cool, they congeal and build up on the sides of the pipes.
"Remember, when in doubt, throw it out."
7th December 2017