BGMU urges the public to stop flushing wipes

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Many people are using disinfectant wipes and paper towels for other purposes now a days due to the coronavirus, and those items are being flushed down the toilet, clogging sewer pumps.

Kevin Lockwood, the maintenance coordinator at BGMU, is dealing with these clogs substantially more now than ever before.

“Please be careful don’t put sanitizer wipes, hand wipes, baby wipes, or cleaning wipes down the toilets, please,” said Lockwood.

Bowling Green Municipal Utility workers are urging residents to stop flushing those item.

“It definitely clogs the pumps up, when the pumps get clogged up, of course that makes more work for us, but it starts backing up the system. When it backs up the system, it backs up the mains to your house, your bathtubs, toilets, and then you aren’t happy either,” said Michael Gardner, the BGMU water and wastewater systems manager.

Utility workers say those wipes that say flush-able on the packaging can still clog the pipes.

“Folks are just disposing those in the toilet and flushing them down rather than putting them in the trash can. The difference between wipes and some of the other materials, toilet paper, is that wipes are not, well, they are just much tougher. It does not break apart like toilet paper does,” said Gardner.

In the past, workers typically spend five hours a week unclogging pumps, but now, workers say, nearly 40 hours per week are spent pulling wipes and other materials from sewer pumps.