Flushable wipes can cause more problems than you think

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - When you pick up a pack of flushable wipes, there is a good chance you don't think twice about where you dispose them.

Flushing of improper items can cause damage to the waste system. (KOTA)

"Every year we have probably a half a dozen to a dozen backups that are caused by what we call rags or wipes," says the superintendent of the city water reclamation, David Van Cleave.

Even though the package may say the product is flushable, you might want to think again. Van Cleave says these items don't properly break down in the waste system, which creates many problems.

"Both in sewer side where they will accumulate grease and that type of thing. And they will plug up pipes causing backups. Or they even go all the way out to the wastewater treatment plant and then they will plug up pumps," says Van Cleave.

Van Cleave says the back up of sewage damage can be dangerous for everybody. Not only when it comes to property owners, but wastewater can expose people to bacteria.

"We try to keep that system flowing as quickly and cleanly as we can," says Van Cleave.

When wipes and even q-tips are flushed and don't break down crews, then have to go in to remove those products which take time and money.

"The appropriate place for those products is to put them in the trash can. They're solid waste, and that is where they belong," says Van Cleave.