The Capital Regional District says disinfectant and disinfectant wipes, paper towels and latex gloves should not be flushed or put down the drain. (Unsplash)

COVID-19: Latex gloves, paper towel and wipes are not flushable, local authorities warn

Improper flushing can clog and damage a community’s septic and sewer systems

With toilet paper in low supply and cleaning in high gear, local government officials are reminding the public that paper towels, disinfectant wipes (even the ‘flushable’ kind) and latex gloves pose a significant risk to B.C.’s sanitary collection systems.

“With individuals and families doing their part by staying home, our systems are seeing a spike in use,” said Jeff Miller, director of engineering and public works for the Township of Esquimalt. “We need to be mindful of how we’re treating the Township’s assets.”

Miller reminds residents the only things that should be going into the sanitary system are human waste and toilet paper.

According to the Capital Regional District (CRD) on southern Vancouver Island, improper materials can lead to clogs, blockages and wastewater equipment damage – all of which can shut down sewer systems.

READ ALSO: Costco bans return of hoarded items, including toilet paper

And a sewage clog or blockage can result in raw sewage overflows into the region’s rivers or lakes. It could even require you to have to leave your home – an especially complicated scenario in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our municipal sewer systems are built to handle human waste and toilet paper that is specifically designed to deteriorate quickly,” said Glenn Harris, senior manager of the CRD’s environmental protection team. “Anything else … that you put down your drains leads to clogs, blockages and sewer pump damage.”

He said that solid waste “can mix with fats, oils and grease in the wastewater to form large clogs.”

Harris emphasized that the same rules apply for those using septic systems.

“Septic systems are like municipal sewer systems, but toilet paper designed for these systems deteriorates slower to protect the distribution field,” he explained. “However, anything else … that you put down your drains leads to clogs, blockages and sewer pump damage. Any of these situations can shut down your septic system.”

Harris said disinfectant can also kill off beneficial bacteria in septic systems and leave your wastewater untreated.

For more information about proper use of septic or sewer systems, check with your local government authority.

READ ALSO: Protect yourself from COVID-19 by grabbing a bar of soap

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusCRD sewage

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Schools get creative to provide food to students

Initiatives underway include providing gift cards

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Schools ramp up contact efforts with students

Efforts of school district employees called “extraordinary”

North District RCMP see massive spike in domestic calls

Connection to COVID-19 pandemic likely for reduced call volume, increased severity

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Sanders drops 2020 bid, leaving Biden as likely nominee

Sanders plans to talk to his supporters later Wednesday

B.C. faith leaders, Horgan discuss need for virtual religious ceremonies

Leaders were open to providing other ways to celebrate during the pandemic

Emergency COVID-19 funding now available for children with special needs

Funding to be used to help support families through uncertain times of pandemic

Revenue dip needed to qualify for wage subsidy drops to 15% in March: Trudeau

Wage subsidy would over 75% of each employee’s salary for qualifying businesses

B.C. closes all provincial parks for COVID-19 protection

Easter weekend approaches, camping already closed

Air Canada says it will apply for wage subsidy to rehire workers after cutting 16,500 jobs

Air Canada said March revenues fell by more than 30 per cent year over year

Most Read