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City of Peterborough urges residents to only flush toilet paper and natural waste

Peterborough City Hall. File

A run on toilet paper sparked by fears of a shortage have led to a request from City of Peterborough officials urging residents to not flush anything other than toilet paper after a bathroom break.

Unfounded rumours of a TP shortage have sparked a few suggestions about what else people could use instead, said City of Peterborough Otonabee Ward councillor Lesley Parnell.

READ MORE: Oregon police tell citizens to stop calling 911 ‘just because you ran out of toilet paper’

Parnell says there are no reported issues yet, but there is a concern from the utilities commission about what may be making its way into the sewer system if people are flushing more than what mother nature intended.

“It’s actually very important that we take precautions now, so that we don’t end up getting ourselves in, shall I say, a big mess,” Parnell said.

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Parnell says there are concerns that residents who are unable to get their hands on toilet paper will start using things which aren’t intended for the city’s sewer system.

North East Water Treatment Service
North East Water Treatment Service. North East Water Treatment Service

Makeup, baby or hand wipes should never be flushed, Parnell says, nor should paper towels or work towels.

“I do see some jokes online, which are funny, but please don’t use dryer sheets or mismatched socks either,” Parnell said. “And all of those things, flushing down the toilet, into the pipes, are going to clog not just your own pipes and cause this horrible back flow into your own home, you could also do this to your neighbour.”

Parnell says those clogs could make their way into the city’s waste treatment system, and even cause blockages at the plant itself.

“These can be very disruptive, dangerous and disgusting to have to deal and very expensive,” Parnell says.

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Parnell notes that some places, like shelters and food banks, are facing a toilet paper shortage. She says anyone with any should consider making a donation.

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