THUNDER BAY — The increased use of sanitary wipes and other tissue due to the COVID-19 pandemic is causing headaches for City of Thunder Bay sewer and wastewater personnel.
Rather than discarding wipes in the trash, people are flushing them down the toilet.
This caused a serious problem Tuesday, when a sewer on the north side of town became plugged by a mass of tissue eight to nine metres long.
The city had to dispatch a crew to clear the blockage.
In interviews Wednesday, officials declined to identify the exact location.
The city issued a statement, however, asking residents not to flush wipes down the drain, even if they are advertised as "flushable."
"Wipes can block homeowner and municipal sewer pipes, causing sewer backups and disruptions to the treatment processes at the Water Pollution Control Plant. Only toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet," the advisory stated.
Examples of tissue not suitable for fhe sewer system include:
- bathroom wipes (often advertised as flushable)
- baby wipes
- paper towels or napkins
- household cleaning wipes
- body cleaning wipes
- feminine hygiene products (sanitary napkins, tampons and panty-liners)
- makeup remover wipes
Residents are asked to dispose of all the above items in the garbage.