Feminine Hygiene Products

belong in the trash and should not be flushed.

Feminine Hygiene

Put these products in the trash

Feminine hygiene products, such as sanitary napkins and tampons, are made of fibers like cotton and rayon that are non-degradable. They are designed to absorb liquids instead of breaking down like toilet paper. Tampons, on average, absorb about 10 times their size in fluid. This makes them hard to dissolve and can cause serious plumbing problems later, especially in older plumbing systems if there is already and grease build up or if roots have grown into the pipes. Flushing these products can easily result in a clogged sewer line.

Toilets are not designed to handle materials other than toilet paper and human waste. Household items, such as wipes, cleaning cloths, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, and personal care products may lead to a clog in the toilet that a plunger might not be able to fix. Plumbing problems are often caused by flushing material that are not flushable. Many household products do not break down like toilet paper. Toilet paper is designed to start breaking apart as soon as it contacts water, making it less of an obstruction to toilets and the pipes below.

Aren't tampons designed to be flushed?

Short answer, no.

Tampons are designed to absorb liquids and not break down. These are not the properties of something you want to flush. Tampons will not break down in the sewer lines and can clump together with other items and cause blockages. The water utility then has to filter them out along with everything else that doesn't break down (looking at you, "flushable" wipes) and they just end up in a dumpster headed to the landfill on your dime. These costs are passed on through your water bill. Please defend your drains and use the trash can.

How can one small item damage our water system?

The North Texas region is home to around 7 million people. The problem occurs when hundreds of thousands of people flush these items down the drain throughout the day. Feminine hygiene products, along with wet wipes, paper towels, cotton swabs, hairballs, trash, and debris twist and clump together to create a large wad traveling through the wastewater system. If these clumps don't get stuck in the pipes and block the flow of waste water, they get caught in the pumps and twist into tight wads that can completely shut down systems!

Our North Texas water utilities are reporting clogs like these occurring several times per week. The image below is a blockage that was removed from one of the North Texas Municipal Water District's pump stations. The blockage is made up of about 80 percent wet wipes combined with twigs, sticks, a plastic soda bottle, feminine hygiene products, and a pair of underwear thrown in to boot.

Image courtesy North Texas Municipal Water District.

What should I do instead?

Wrap feminine hygiene products in toilet paper and put it in the trash.

Simple as that.

How can you prevent sewer back ups?

Easy steps to Defend Your Drains

By practicing these three simple actions, you can prevent grease clogs and help protect our water quality.

1. Wipe pans and plates into the trash before washing.

Use a paper towel to wipe greasy pots, pans, and plates before placing them in the dish washer or washing them in the sink. When you do hand wash greasy kitchen ware, be sure to use COLD water so that even the small amounts of fats, oils, or grease don't get a chance to cling to pipes before hardening.

2. Take advantage of local drop-off facilities

You can collect your used cooking oil in a sealable container with a screw top lid and then take it to one of the regional drop-off locations so we can collect and recycle the used cooking oil.

It's a win-win!

3. Remember the 3 Ps.

The toilet should only be used for three things; Pee, Poop, and toilet Paper.

Wipes - even "flushable" wipes - belong in the trash and should not be flushed down your toilet.

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