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During pandemic, Halifax Water urges public not to flush so-called ‘flushable’ wipes

An educational video from Halifax Water urges the public not to flush wet wipes down the toilet. The reminder comes during the COVID-19 pandemic, as residents increase their use of cleaning products.
An educational video from Halifax Water urges the public not to flush wet wipes down the toilet. The reminder comes during the COVID-19 pandemic, as residents increase their use of cleaning products. YouTube: Halifax Water

As residents increase their use of cleaning products during the COVID-19 crisis, Halifax Water is urging residents not to flush wipes — even the so-called ‘flushable’ ones — down the toilet.

The utility is re-circulating a public education video on YouTube reminding consumers that these wet wipes, while marketed as safe to flush, don’t break down like toilet paper does and can cause messy clogs.

That’s a problem Halifax Water doesn’t want to deal with in the midst of a pandemic, as it works to keep its essential services up and running.

“Diverting valuable resources of time and equipment to a situation that’s a hundred per cent preventable is not the way to go,” said spokesperson James Campbell on Friday.

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Wet wipes will go down the toilet, the utility’s video explains, don’t break down in water.

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They can end up stuck to a home’s plumbing system, or clogging up pipes leading to sewage treatment plants, where staff have to fish them out by hand.

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Halifax Water will clear up any clogs from the sewer main in the street up to the property line, but Campbell cautioned homeowners: they’re on their own if a blockage forms in the home.

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“Accessing a plumber might not be all that easy at this time period,” he said. “In the meantime, you’ve got all this sewage in your basement which is potentially very hazardous that you have to deal with.”

The utility also warned that in the midst of trying to fix such a mess, government instructions on social distancing may be compromised, posing a serious health risk.

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