Mayor says stop flushing wipes down the toilet

It’s a dirty job, but somebody had to do it.

So Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps stepped to the microphone Wednesday and reminded people to stop flushing disinfecting wipes down the toilet, because they’re clogging the sewage system.

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“While the premier and the prime minister get to stand up and make glamorous announcements about fiscal packages and stimulus packages and support for renters and other important measures, what I get to stand up today and tell you about our toilets,” Helps said at her daily briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak.

The mayor said she understands that people are trying to protect themselves by practising proper hygiene. But her message was clear: “Do not flush any type of wipe, except toilet paper, down the toilet.”

Helps said disinfecting wipes — including those marked “flushable” — should be tossed in the garbage.

“Many products that are advertised as flushable, aren’t really flushable,” she said. “And, again, we’re starting to see a little bit of a clog-up.

“As a city, we’re dealing with this pandemic and the last thing we need to see is backed up sewer systems creating unsanitary conditions that could spread the COVID-19 disease further.”

Other municipalities have issued similar pleas in recent days. Esquimalt warned that “flushable” wipes can clog pumps and pose a significant risk to the sewage system.

“With individuals and families doing their part by staying home, our systems are seeing a spike in use,” Jeff Miller, Esquimalt’s director of engineering and public works, said in a statement.

“We need to be mindful of how we’re treating the township’s assets.”

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