Jacksonville workers warn against flushing wipes, paper towels


JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – People are grabbing all the disinfectant wipes they can from the stores. But where those wipes are ending up can cause problems.

Jacksonville utility workers say they’ve found wipes in the city’s sewer lines. It’s a common sight, but there’s been a slight increase since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

City workers are warning against flushing wipes or paper towels down the toilet.

None of those items can break down in the water. They’ll eventually block the water flow in sewers and it can result in backups, spills, and more problems.

“It can impact an entire neighborhood so you have to be mindful about what you flush,” said Anthony Futrell, utilities maintenance superintendent for the City of Jacksonville.

Futrell says if people don’t throw away their wipes and paper towel it can have a greater affect. It can cause damage to the sewer lines and the environment.

It takes a crew of four to fix the problem, an hour to finish, and cost at least $5,000.

​”When we’re dispatched you never know what we’re going to run into, but we usually have a crew of four,​ with highly specialized equipment,” said Futrell.

Futrell advises people to only flush toilet paper. It’s okay to use wipes, but they should not end up in your toilet.

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