To Flush Or Not To Flush....That Is the Question

Published: November 13, 2013

Time after plumbers come across everyday items the homeowners or their children have deemed it appropriate and safe to send down the water ride of their home’s commode. It’s easy to see why, when every store shelf is packed with items that deem themselves as biodegradable and flushable. The reality is that, most of these products should only see the smooth porcelain of your water closet from the wastebasket.

The use of sewage ejection pumps in many of our customer’s basements is one of the biggest obstacles un-flushables meet. Since basement baths are lower than ground level, sewage ejection pumps allow the debris from your basement bathroom to be pumped up to a septic or sewer system. Due to the pumping mechanism handling the flow, obstructions can get trapped within, causing back-ups of sewage, pump seizure, and possibly the end of the pump life. Below are some of the most frequent items that tend to be flushed:

  • “Flushable Wipes” Here lays one of the most common advertised products claiming to be safe to flush, but can wreak havoc down the road. Although the product may go down “some” toilets easily, their ability to not degrade and cause plugs is their biggest down fall. Even the website for Kleenex Kids Flushable Moist Wipes states, “Sewage systems and stream flow conditions are different from door to door. Some extreme cases show that just one sheet can plug a toilet, so our advice is don’t flush these wipes if the water stream in the toilet is weak, and also don’t flush many sheets at once (we recommend that no more than two wipes are used per flush).”
  • Underwear In rare cases, it has been seen that potty training toddlers accidently send their britches down the drain as well. Be proud of their accomplishment, but keep an eye out for the clog causing, pump seizing item.
  • Tampons Although females may appreciate their super-absorbent possibilities, this same feature can easily lead to a clogged toilet trap. Should these items be sent through your sewage pump a jam is almost positive to occur.
  • Condoms Not only can flushing these items cause the above issues, the synthetic material is not biodegradable in your septic tank.
  • Paper Towels A very common practice in the home cleaning maintenance profession is to flush the paper towels after cleaning with them. This not only distributes chemicals into the septic or sewer from the rags, but they have been known to cause costly obstructions in city sewers.

This tip courtesy of Kozon Plumbing & Heating, PC10500480, Cromwell, IN.