Although most of us would assume that wet wipes disintegrate once we flush it down the toilet, the reality is that is almost never does. Unlike toilet paper that usually breaks apart in about 24 hours or so, wet wipes will remain virtually imperishable even when flushed down the bowl.
What is a fatberg? (See photo to the right.) This is a condition wherein the wet wipes combine with the fat, grease, and other dirt trapped in the pipes creating an iceberg-like formation. These formations create huge clogs in plumbing pipes and drains.
Fatbergs can be regularly found in homes resulting in thousands of dollars’ worth of plumbing repairs. The smaller variants of fatbergs are known as softball clogs and can be equally destructive just like flushing a softball down the toilet.
How old is your home? Chances are, the older your home, the more fragile your plumbing system is. This means that many of your pipes are already corroded and brittle. It is not surprising that your drain lines are full of small holes or have become home to tree root infestation. When you flush wet wipes down these drains they get tangled with everything else down there resulting in wall of wipes that would be difficult to penetrate.
If the wet wipes you flushed do not get caught up in the pipes or create blockage and would reach the sewer system, it can still cause havoc to your home septic system as well as the sewer system of the city.
Why? Because instead of clogging up the drain lines, it now causes a blockage within the septic tank. The result is a backed-up sewer that can come into your home through your sinks, drains, bathtub, and other openings that are directly connected to the home septic system.
*Excerpts used with permission: Scott English Plumbing, Inc.
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Video credit goes to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.