Palmetto Public Work Important Preventitive Update COVID-19 Concerns

Remember: No wipes. No paper towels. Toilet paper is only product safe to flush

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

 Rags clogging pipe

Palmetto Public Works. – Practicing good hygiene and keeping surfaces clean is essential now more than ever. But if you’re using baby wipes, disinfectant wipes, paper towels or anything that isn’t actual toilet paper, they must go directly into the trash when you’re done.

Palmetto Public Works reminds everyone that other than human waste, only toilet paper is safe to flush. It doesn’t matter if the product says ‘flushable’ on the label.

The inaccurate marketing and subsequent flushing of wipes and other non-toilet-paper products is an ongoing and costly problem. When flushed, these products clog sewer pipes and pump stations, increase utility maintenance, create environmental concerns and vex workers throughout the wastewater system.

With toilet paper flying off the shelves in grocery stores, a spike in demand spurred by rapidly evolving novel coronavirus epidemic, consumers have also been buying up large quantities of wipes, paper towels and paper napkins – perhaps looking for other options. Wastewater treatment providers around the country are bracing for the potential major sewage blockages and possible overflows that could follow if residents don’t heed the warning now.

"We have not detected an increase in wipes at this time, but we are extremely concerned,” Allen R. Tusing Director of Public Works, City of Palmetto, said. “We are already spending a great amount of time and resources to remove large masses of wipes and non-woven paper products from sewer pump stations and wastewater treatment facilities. The potential for an increase in these materials being flushed into the system now is enormous.”

Wipes, towels and other products flushed down toilets across the city have to be removed by hand as they get stuck and build up in various parts of the wastewater system. After pulling out the ropey masses of guck, workers must drain off liquid and the remaining solids are sent to landfills.

Here’s why: Wipes – such as baby wipes and household cleaning cloths – are made of tough nonwoven fibers and shaped and sized by manufacturers so they can be flushed and forgotten by consumers. These fibers are meant to be very durable – some even contain plastic – and they do not break down in the same manner as, say, toilet paper. After using, the safest and best place to dispose of these products is in the garbage

So even if there’s a toilet paper shortage on grocery store shelves, please avoid the temptation to flush any other products.


Message from Palmetto Public Works

March 18, 2020 

The safety and well-being of our staff and our community is our highest priority. In response to evolving information of the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Palmetto Public Works is implementing decisive measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect health and safety of all. These decisions were made after careful consideration and follow the direction and guidance of the City of Palmetto leadership and Manatee County Public Health.

During this time, Palmetto Public Works will be deploying its staff and resources to focus first on the continuation of the essential services that we provide to our community and customers. Non-urgent response/services will follow as staffing and efforts to minimize exposure allow.

We will continue to monitor ongoing concerns and will respond to this rapidly changing situation as we move forward in these uncertain times. Thank you for your understanding, patience and support.

Public Works Director Allen R. Tusing