'Flushable' wipes victimize homeowners in Minnesota
- "Flushable" wipes have backfired on homeowners in Bloomington, MN, causing sewer line clogs and damages. However, officials are defending the city, saying that it is not responsible for "foreign objects" that are flushed down toilets.
- A city couple was left with three inches of sewage waste and sanitary products in their furnished basement on New Year's Eve, and was awarded $15,000 for the damages. Bloomington officials are now looking to overturn the judgment, stating that "rag clogs" are not the city's responsibility.
- Last week, the city produced a video titled "Keep the Wipes Out of the Pipes" to try to stop residents from flushing sanitary objects. "I completely empathize with people when [damage] happens," Bob Cockriel, Bloomington utilities superintendent, told The Star Tribune. "But as long as the city … has been doing what it’s supposed to be doing, then the blame goes back to somebody who’s not doing what they’re supposed to be doing."
Wipes that claim to be "flushable" have been causing similar headaches in cities across the world. New York City, San Francisco, London, and Sydney are just a few of the places that have dealt with expensive clogs due to wipes getting stuck in sewage pipes.
In February, NYC Bill Mayor de Blasio even announced a bill that would require accurate labels on products, prohibiting certain moist wipe companies from advertising as flushable. The city has spent more than $18 million in the past five years on wipe-related clogs.
Now that the damage has been done in Bloomington, it's time to find a solution. Although officials examine the city's 334 miles of sewer mains every 18 months, more consumer education may be the key to keeping sanitary wipes out of the toilet — and a short YouTube video isn't enough.
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