“It shows up on users’ bills”: the disaster of wipes thrown down the toilet

“It shows up on users’ bills”: the disaster of wipes thrown down the toilet
“It shows up on users’ bills”: the disaster of wipes thrown down the toilet

the essential
Wipes thrown down the toilet have a double consequence: they clog the pipes and pollute the environment. The Lot-et-Garonne sanitation network is alerting.

“This is one of our main problems with sewers,” warns Nicolas Lyonnet, Garonne territory manager at Saur (Eau de Garonne). Whether they are makeup removers, cleansers or used for hygiene, wipes thrown down the toilet are a real scourge for the pipes.

“People flush the wipes down the toilet instead of throwing them in the trash, the problem is they’re not biodegradable at all.” According to the Water Information Center, they only actually deteriorate after 3 months.

They pollute the Garonne

Consequences: “It clogs our pumps and can cause pollution in the natural environment.” A problem which is not new and which does not only affect Lot-et-Garonne. “All sanitation network managers have this problem,” explains the manager of Eau de Garonne. In March 2020, a cry of alarm had already been raised by several water companies. But four years later, the problem is still present.

“It causes the networks to overflow, and the risk is that we dump wastewater directly into the Garonne – which wears out prematurely because of that – without going through the treatment plant,” explains Nicolas Lyonnet. As the river flows into the Atlantic, the waste then ends up in the ocean and can have a detrimental impact on marine life.

A planned communications campaign

“We have increasingly efficient equipment for grinding wipes, but we cannot grind them 100%,” laments the Garonne territory manager at Saur. In addition: “It’s equipment that is expensive and consumes energy. This ends up, ultimately, on users’ bills.”

A communication campaign is underway and will see the light of day in the coming months, to make residents aware of this phenomenon, and thus overcome this ecological and economic disaster.

Other waste not to throw down the toilet

Wipes are not the only enemy of pipes. Cotton swabs, dental floss, kitty litter, tampons and even diapers are also very bad, both for the pipes and for the environment.




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