Public Works asks residents to stop flushing wipes; Paper towels and wipes cause sewer blockages


MONROE, LA. (KTVE/KARD)– The pandemic is not only effecting immune systems, but it’s also taking a toll on sewage systems.

“Bottom line is you can’t put anything in the sewer, but toilet paper and human waste,” Charles Westrom with Public Works said.

Wipes are being used heavily to disinfect surfaces during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the city of Monroe is seeing a large increase in people throwing those wipes down the toilet instead of the trash.

“Some of them are stocking up so bad that we have to put men in confined spaces and they have to go in with their hands and pick them out. It’s a terrible situation,” Westrom said.

Westrom says when this happens, workers have to climb into small spaces, sometimes 3 stories deep. It’s a health risk and has put the workers behind in what they are actually supposed to be checking on- the 70 plus units across the city.

“It’s causing equipment malfunctions,” Westrom said. “It’s causing sanitary sewer overflows.”

Westrom said the department understands the importance of sanitation and encourage people to wipe down frequently used surfaces. The problem is how people are getting rid of them.

“I think that being able to disinfect at the time of this virus is very important, but don’t flush them down the toilet, but throw them in a trashcan,” Westrom said.

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