Wet wipes are something almost any parent will tell you are essential when it comes to young children, but how should we dispose of them once they're used?
Many brands are offering flushable products these days, but the City of La Vista says they're a problem once they hit sewers.
Jennifer Salber is a nanny who has taken care of many little ones. Salber uses a lot of wet wipes in her job. She throws them away once they're used. “I think of the clogging and everything so I always just, I don't know, I think it's just habit just to throw them away,” she says.
Many wet wipes say they're flushable, and they will flush, but the La Vista Public Works Department is asking people to stick them in the trash, and not the toilet.
So what happens when you flush them? La Vista Public Works showed WOWT 6 News with its Compact Pipe Ranger, a remote controlled robot equipped with cameras. A crew lowers it into the sewer and then watches a video feed back in a control room of a truck.
Terry Foster, Foreman of La Vista's Sewer Division, says unlike toilet paper, wet wipes can stick around in sewer pipes for a long time. He showed WOWT 6 News a previously recorded video of a pipe covered in wet wipes that he says can cause big problems in the case of a backup. “If it plugs up far enough, it can come out of the manhole, it can go into the residents' basements,” Foster says.
It's those reasons that Salber says she'll just keep throwing wipes away, whether they're supposed to be flushable or not. “I just don't want to deal with another mess, and having to clean that up, if something did happen,” she says.
The La Vista Public Works Department also requests residents not to send other hazardous items into the sewer system.
Right now, wet wipes are the department's biggest problem.