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KSMU is dedicated to broadcasting critically important information as our community experiences the COVID-19 pandemic. Below, you'll find our ongoing coverage.

Utility Companies Face Clogged Sewage Lines From Paper Towels, Disinfecting Wipes

Pixabay, used with permission

Some cities in the Ozarks are facing sewage backups because residents are flushing non-toilet paper products down the toilet. This comes as more people are staying home—and many are also cleaning with sanitizing wipes and paper towels. 

The cities of West Plains and Mountain Grove are reporting more non-toilet paper products in their sewer systems.


West Plains officials are encouraging people to avoid flushing cleaning wipes or paper products other than toilet paper down the toilet, according to a press release from the city.


And Mountain Grove city administrator Tim Schook said the worst thing people can flush is paper towels. He said disposable wipes are smaller, but they can also get clogged in the pumps at their facility. 


Springfield and Branson officials said they haven’t seen an increase since the pandemic, but said it's long been an ongoing problem.  And the City of Neosho reminded its residents Thursday the only product they should flush is toilet paper.


The EPA advises people to only flush toilet paper to prevent backups. The agency said in a news release that fixing these preventable wastewater problems can be time-consuming and costly for utility facilities.