WASHINGTON — A water utility company in the D.C.-area is urging customers to stop flushing disinfectant wipes down the toilet.
WSSC Water told WUSA9 it has seen a tremendous increase of wipes at their pumping stations since the coronavirus pandemic started.
WSSC Water has seen a 17-ton increase in wipes coming into water treatment facilities during March and April this year compared to the same time in 2019.
The utility company has spent millions of dollars over the past decade installing grinder pumps to deal with the problem.
However, workers have to shut down the pumps, manually unclog them, and haul the garbage to a landfill when things get too bad.
In the last couple of months, workers have also seen PPE, such as, gloves and masks, coming into the water treatment facilities.
A WSSC Water spokesperson said the excess of wipes and PPE in pipes is not only a headache from them, but it could turn into a costly problem for customers.
“If you continue to flush wipes down the toilet, at some point they’re going to form a wad or a blockage in the pipe. The next time you go to flush that toilet, that waste water – that sewage is going to hit that wad of wipes and it is going to backup. Where is it going to go? It’s going to go into your basement, and it is going to be messy and disgusting. It is also going to be expensive to fix.” Lyn Riggins, spokesperson for WSSC Water, said.
WSSC Water said customers should also soon be getting their first quarterly water bills since the pandemic started in June.
The dates on the bill would include water usage from the months of March, April, and May.
The utility company warned that those bills will likely be higher because of increased usage during the coronavirus pandemic.
If you think you will have trouble paying your bill, WSSC Water is working with customers who call and state assistance is needed.