As Americans rushed to the stores and hoarding all the toilet paper in sight, a new problem arose during the COVID-19 pandemic. More people are home using their toilets – and those toilets are backing up. Why is this the case? Well, people are flushing more items down their pipes than usual. In particular, they are flushing things they should not be flushing causing their toilet to become clogged, or even worse, causing whole sewer pipe systems to become clogged.
Flushing the wrong things down the toilet is one of the main causes of home water damage Tampa residents face. But it is not only individual homes that suffer. As multitudes of people flush items that don’t disintegrate properly, the whole sewer system is affected.
What Happens if Your Toilet is Clogged?
We’ve all dealt with a clogged toilet at some point and had to use the plunger to unclog it. But it is not always this easy. It can actually be much worse. If a toilet itself is clogged, it can overflow. However, you can also have a clog somewhere in a drainpipe, such as the main drain or the sewage line.
If your toilet overflows, the toilet water can seep into the floor and the drywall. It can even cause serious damage to your electrical wiring. Ultimately, the amount of the damage will vary depending on the layout of your home and the location of the toilet overflow. For example, if you have a second story toilet overflow, then you are also dealing with water damage to the ceiling and the areas of the home below.
What Happens if the Sewer Pipe Systems are Clogged?
When a community has a sewer pipe system clogged, then the community may experience a water disruption where the water has to be turned off while repairs are completed. Additionally, sewage clogs can result in pump failures and sewage line blockages.
With the sharp increase of people flushing inappropriate items during the COVID-19 crisis, sewage line blockages are a real problem. For example, Smart Cities Dive reports, “A wipe-related sewer line blockage in Woonsocket, RI caused sewage to flow into four homes’ basements, which took five Veolia employees about 14 hours to clear and cost about $20,000.”
Do Not Flush Disinfecting Wipes (or any kind of wipes)
What exactly is causing the sewer backups during the COVID-19 crisis? All the disinfectant wipes, such as Lysol and Clorox wipes that people are using to disinfect and sanitize their homes. We absolutely should be sanitizing as much as possible. However, these wipes were never intended to be flushed in our toilets. This has become such a problem that even the EPA is issuing warnings. These wipes do not break down, and as a result, cause sewage backups.
The EPA explains, “Sewer backups can be a threat to public health and present a challenge to our water utilities by diverting resources away from the essential work being done to treat and manage our nation’s wastewater.”
In addition to disinfecting wipes, you should also avoid flushing any kind of wipe, such as baby wipes or body wipes. This also includes wipes designated as “flushable wipes.” If the wipe is designed to be strong and not break when you use it, it is too strong to break apart as it should in the pipe system.
Do Not Flush Paper Napkins
Not only are people flushing wipes, but they are also flushing paper napkins and paper towels. Again, these items do not disintegrate like they should to keep our sewage pipes flowing and to protect Tampa FL water damage emergencies.
Other Items That Wreak Havoc and Should Never Be Flushed
Just because something is small enough it “can” be flushed down a toilet does not mean it “should” be flushed. The EPA lists the additional items as “no flush” because they clog pipes and septic systems: cigarette butts, disposable diapers, feminine hygiene products, plastics, condoms, medications, cotton swabs, cotton balls, and dental floss.
Only Flush the Three P’s
Think before you flush. To keep your pipes safe and your community’s sewage system safe, it is best to stick to only flushing the three p’s: pee, poop, and (toilet) paper. It’s an easy rule to remember and to follow.
Dririte is an Essential Service for Water Damage Repair Tampa Residents’ Emergencies
Even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, restoration companies Tampa residents need, like Dririte, are busy at work – especially when it comes to water damage repair in Tampa. If you experience an overflowing toilet or a sewage backup, Dririte has the experience, knowledge, and tools needed to safely restore your home. We provide an essential service, so Tampa area residents can call us 24/7, even during this time, for restoration services.