Mayor Caldwell: only flush the 3 Ps, wipes and paper towels don’t break down in the sewer


HONOLULU (KHON) — Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the Department of Environmental Services issued a statement today urging people to only flush the 3 Ps down the toilet: pee, poop, and toilet paper. All flushable disinfecting wipes and paper towels should go in the garbage, so as not to overwhelm the island’s sanitation systems.

The statement is as follows:

“The City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Environmental Services (ENV) is reminding the public not to put wipes and other disinfectant products down the toilet.  Such products do not breakdown in the wastewater system and can cause backups and spills. The city sewer system is designed to only transport water, toilet paper and human waste to a wastewater treatment plant.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, the public is encouraged to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for cleaning surfaces with disinfecting wipes to reduce the spread of COVID-19; however, it is very important to place all wipes in the garbage and not in the toilet.

Flushable wipes, baby wipes, disinfectant wipes, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, and similar materials must be discarded in your regular opala and not flushed down the toilet to the city’s sewer system.  All of these items will clog the homeowner’s main lateral before it reaches the city pipes, or could clog a sewer pipe, wastewater pump station or treatment plant causing a health risk of raw sewage spilling into the environment and place public health at risk during the coronavirus pandemic.

“All wipes and paper towels do not break down in the sewer system,” ENV Director Lori Kahikina said.  “The packaging may say they are ‘flushable,’ but they truly are not as they do not breakdown in the system.”

Wipes are not just a Honolulu problem, but a national problem for about a decade.  Preventing sewer spills, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is vital for the protection of public health and the environment.”

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