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Flush only toilet paper

Don’t flush paper towels, napkins, and wet wipes of any kind — even the ones that say flushable — so that wastewater and water treatment plants will keep working properly.

That’s the advice of Caitlin Worsham, who is project manager of Haywood Waterways Association,.

“With the shortage of toilet paper everywhere, people are asking is it OK,” to flush these items. 

“The answer is no. These items never properly break down and clog pipes that lead to leaks in sewer lines and septic systems, which can be costly to fix,” said Worsham. “Untreated wastewater is also filled with toxic chemicals and bacteria that can leach into groundwater, streams, rivers, and lakes; be harmful to trout and other wildlife; contaminate drinking water supplies; and degrade water used to irrigate food.”

Issue with faulty pipes or septic systems can often be recognized by foul odors outside or in the house, slow drainage in sinks and toilets, soggy soil and liquid waste along a sewer line or septic drain field, or excessive grass growth around the system.

Contact your town representative if you suspect issues with a leaking sewer line. For homeowners on a septic system, contact the Haywood County Environmental Health Department 828.452.6675.

Haywood Waterways Association is a member-based nonprofit organization working to protect and improve surface water quality in Haywood County. Visit www.haywoodwaterways.org for more information or this website. www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-encourages-americans-only-flush-toilet-paper.

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