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The original item was published from 4/9/2020 3:21:00 PM to 4/9/2020 3:23:07 PM.

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General Press Releases

Posted on: April 9, 2020

[ARCHIVED] COVID-19 Update - Residents Asked to Help Ensure Water Infrastructure is Not Damaged or Contaminated

Westmont, Illinois
Date Issued: April 9, 2020

During this time of COVID-19, people are using more and more disinfecting products to keep themselves healthy and safe. However, proper disposal of cleaning items is crucial to maintaining our vital water works and sewer infrastructure.  

There are two main concerns regarding the increased use of disinfecting products: 1) clogging and damage to wastewater pipes, and 2) chemical contamination to the wastewater treatment process.  Please review the following important tips.

Only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet.  Following are some of the items that are often flushed down the toilet and then cause problems:
  • Baby wipes
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Paper towels, napkins, or Kleenex
  • Diapers
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Floss
  • Feminine hygiene products or other personal care items
Regardless of products promoting the contrary, wipes do not break apart or degrade in the wastewater system like toilet paper does.  Flushing wipes down the toilet can cause clogged pipes, broken pumps, and residential backups, which can be costly and interrupt service.

Paper towels, napkins, sanitary wipes, and similar items should be thrown in the trash and should NOT be flushed down the toilet. Even wipes that promote that they are “flushable” should not be flushed.  Only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet.

The process of cleaning wastewater includes using helpful bacteria to break down human waste so the treated water can be safely discharged into the environment.  Unfortunately, the amount of antibacterial chemicals going down residential drains has increased dramatically, which affects the effectiveness of the waste water treatment system.  Products that can kill bacteria and viruses in your home can also kill the good bacteria needed for the proper treatment of wastewater.  This harms the water treatment facility’s ability to produce clean, safe water for the public.  Disinfectant wipes and products should be disposed of in the trash.

To minimize chemical disposal into the wastewater system, make sure to dilute bleach and other cleaners to the recommended amount.  All bottles have a guide for how much disinfectant to add to water to get the desired results. Be mindful of your chemical usage.  Please use the right amount of cleaning product needed to keep your home clean and do not use more than what is necessary.  Avoid any unnecessary flushing of such chemicals down your sink and toilet.

For more information regarding your sanitary sewer system, please contact your provider:

Downers Grove Sanitary District -

Flagg Creek Water Reclamation District -


Contact: Larry McIntyre
Village of Westmont
Communications Director/PIO

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