Garbage continues to clog Grand Rapids sewers

Posted at 6:14 PM, Oct 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-21 18:14:09-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The Grand Rapids Environmental Services Department is reminding residents, once again, not to drop anything but toilet paper and whatever comes out of you down the toilet.

They continue to struggle with "flushable" wipes that are getting clogged in the city's sewage systems, and would like to see the term "flushable" removed from product labels.

"To be honest, no, we would prefer them to use different terminology," says Carrie Rivette of the Grand Rapids Environmental Services Department. "We use the term 'dispersable.' Will it disperse into the water like toilet paper does. If you can find something like that, I've heard they're starting to make some that can do that. But until we can compare them to toilet paper, we're not going to encourage the use of anything but toilet paper."

Rivette says the city of Grand Rapids spends thousands of dollars each month removing these wipes and other items in the city's sewage systems.

"People will flush just about anything," she said. "Kleenex, paper towels... And then they have the toilet scrubbers that are supposed to be flush-able. Those are definitely not."

The cost of removing these items gets passed on to rate payers. So to keep your costs down, Rivette says these items must go in the trash.