Since the pandemic of COVID-19 began a couple months ago, people have been stocking up on toilet paper leaving the grocery stores bare. For the people who weren’t so lucky to get toilet paper for their household, this has caused nothing but stress in the search.
“It’s been an absolute hassle trying to get really any toilet paper, let alone tissue,” said former College of the Canyons student, Mya Mendez who has been struggling to find toilet paper for her family.
The lack of toilet paper has been causing the public to think outside the box and get a little more creative on what they are using in the restroom, but some officials are saying that these may be harmful for plumbing.
“All those flushable wipes aren’t really flushable, they tend to clog the pipes in your home or the local line or create problems in our trunk sewers in our pumping plant before getting to our treatment plant” said The Los Angeles County Sanitation District Public Information Supervisor, Basil Hewitt.
With the 11 wastewater treatment plants in Los Angeles County there are about 1,400 miles of trunk sewers that treat 80 cities in LA county, according to their website.
When water waste leaves your house it goes into a local line in your city that feeds into trunk sewers, which are bigger in diameter compared to the local line. In certain cities the sewer diameters are smaller causing problems with the passage of the water waste if flushing non-flushable items, according to Hewitt.
According to Hewittt only the three P’s should go down the toilet “ pee, poo and toilet paper.”
Some plumbers in Santa Clarita have been saying they have had a large number of calls coming in the first week of the quarantine because of flushable wipes.
Santa Clarita, Rooter Drain Expert after hours employee, Don White says, “It was kind of crazy, I felt like we got a lot of calls just because of the way things happened, it compounded itself. People were kind of forced into this lockdown and they just weren’t prepared with the influx of the toilet paper and people are probably using things they shouldn’t have.”
White says that the demand for plumbing services has gone down a bit since then.
“The reality and the truth is the only thing that should be going down toilets is toilet paper and what we physically put in the toilet. That’s it, anything else is gambling.” Plumbing by Kirk owner Kirk Stinson said.
By flushing non-flushable items in a toilet, this can cause a huge issue in plumbing, according to Stinson.
“We’ve pulled T-shirts, we’ve pulled baby wipes, we’ve pulled the Lysol wipes, we’ve even pulled diapers out of toilets believe it or not,” said Stinson. and this is not the first time he has seen those types of items before.
Stinson recommends using washable bidet seats that attach onto any standard toilet. The bidet seats don’t have to be costly either, they can start at $20 and range into the thousands depending on how much the buyer wants to spend.
“You have to be very careful in what you put down the toilet,”said Stinson. “Anything but toilet paper can cause issues.”