Sacramento Area Residents Coping with Coronavirus Pandemic Could Clog Sewage System

With a lack of toilet paper on store shelves, an unexpected problem may result—clogged toilets and sewer pipes

Press Release

Sacramento, Calif.—As more and more people stay home to cope with the Coronavirus pandemic, toilets and sewer pipes are at risk of becoming increasingly clogged with disposable wipes, paper towels, napkins, and other materials harmful to the sewer system. The Sacramento Area Sewer District (SASD), the region’s sewage collection utility, is reminding everyone to flush only toilet paper and human waste—nothing else. 

Following the advice of public health officials, people are cleaning and sterilizing their homes with disinfecting wipes like never before. Meanwhile, the current toilet paper shortage has many people scrambling to find other products for their personal sanitary needs. As we all struggle to adjust to this new reality, it’s important to understand that when these products are flushed, they wreak havoc on the sewer system.

Disposable wipes—even wipes labeled as “flushable”—are the biggest problem, as these woven materials easily bind with roots, grease, and debris inside sewer pipes to create blockages. Wipes also collect in large numbers at sewage pump stations. There, they can clog and damage expensive pumping equipment.

“The great news is this: this problem is completely preventable, but we need our customers’ help,” says Rosemary Clark, director of operations for SASD. “Only toilet paper and human waste should ever be flushed. Anything else can cause problems in the sewer system, creating an additional public health risk in the midst of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.”

The result of clogged sewer pipes and pumps is something everyone wants to avoid—costly, messy sewer backups and overflows that threaten public health and the environment. No Wipes in the Pipes! SASD implores its 1.2 million customers to avoid flushing anything other than human waste and toilet paper. Trash everything else. For more information, visit sacsewer.com/nowipesinthepipes.

Experiencing a sewer problem—like a slow drain or backup? Call SASD 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—even on holidays—at (916) 875-6730.

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The Sacramento Area Sewer District (SASD) is California’s third largest sewage collection utility and provides service to about 1.2 million people in the Sacramento region. SASD owns and operates 4,600 miles of sewer pipes and more than 100 pump stations. We are responsible for the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the sewer system. Learn more at sacsewer.com.

CONTACT:                                                                                   
Paige Bedegrew, Senior Public Information Officer
bedegrewp@sacsewer.com
(916) 875-1442 office | (916) 204-5864 cell

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