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Don’t flush wipes down toilet, Boston Water and Sewer commission warns

A water treatment facility at Deer Island.Scott LaPierre/Globe Staff/file

As wipes are used for a variety of purposes during the coronavirus crisis, the Boston Water and Sewer Commission urges residents not to flush them down the drain to avoid clogging both household pipes and public sewers.

The sewer commission sends the city’s wastewater to a water treatment facility at Deer Island, but officials warn that the effects of flushing wipes down the toilet could cause operations in both the city’s sewer system and the treatment facility to be “jeopardized.”

“In these times when we’re confronting a major health crisis, the addition of health hazards created by clogged pipes and blocked sewers are situations we don’t need and that are quite avoidable,” the sewer commission said in a statement.


Toilet paper is the only acceptable item to be flushed down toilets, the sewer commission said. Personal care items such as wipes, dental floss, and paper towels don’t quickly dissolve in water and should not be flushed.

Other municipal systems, which have reported an increase in wipes being flushed, believe the misconception that toilet paper is in short supply is to blame, officials said.

Matt Berg can be reached at matthew.berg@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattberg33.