Increased use of cleaning wipes and short supplies of toilet paper, raise concerns over improperly flushed materials


With the increased attention on disinfection practices and short supplies of toilet paper during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Portland Water District reminds the public to flush only toilet paper and human waste. Materials not meant to be flushed down a toilet like baby wipes, cleaning wipes, paper towels, rags, dental floss, etc., clog wastewater pumps and systems.

“Our resources will likely be strained over the weeks ahead, and I hope our customers will be careful about what they flush.  We are working to keep our systems operating and the extra burden caused by these materials will make that job much more difficult,” stated Scott Firmin, director of wastewater services. 

Clogged pumps create unnecessary expenses, they also can have a negative impact on the environment and expose workers to dangerous situations. For the health of our environment, the public, and wastewater workers, we’d like to remind everyone to please only flush toilet paper and human waste. 

Don’t flush wipes, they clog pipes and plug pumps. Even wipes labeled flushable are questionable and can cause problems binding with other materials and not breaking down in time to make it through equipment. A better option is to place the materials in a covered container or bag and disposed in the trash.