"Flushable" wipes can cause serious sewer and pipe damage

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - The City's Water Reclamation Division wants to remind everyone to be kind to their pipes.

A demonstration at the water Reclamation Division shows how many objects do not break down.

The Water Reclamation Division has a saying-- "No wipes in the pipes."

Officials say many "flushable" wipes-- like some cleaning, makeup, and baby wipes-- do not break down over time and can cause serious damage to sewer systems.

Clogs, backups, and equipment problems are some of the issues caused by un-flushable wipes.

Cooking oils and fats are also very damaging to the sewer system.

Officials say to store them in a can, wait for them to solidify, then take them to the landfill-- if you dump them down the drain, those materials can solidify in the pipes and cause serious blockage problems.

"We find all kinds of things in the sewers and toys are one of those things," said David Van Cleave, Superintendent of Rapid City Water Reclamation Division You know, children like to put things in the toilets, and of course, those objects combine with other objects and then they will help block things and plug things up. And so, we found everything from hubcaps to, we even found a couch shoved in a manhole one time. So, you name it, people will try to throw it down the drain."

Van Cleave says blockage problems are very expensive-- they can cost homeowners around $3,000 to fix.

He also wants to remind everyone to check their sewer vent pipes in the winter to make sure they aren't frozen over.