ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Plumbers and water companies across the country are pointing to clogged pipes and septic systems as proof flushable wipes might not be so flushable after all.
KRQE News 13 learned the wipes are causing backups in the metro area on a daily basis.
When it comes to cleaning up, Kirk Andres with Roto Rooter said many people in the metro are running into problems.
"Any bathrooms throughout the city, whether it be commercial or residential, a lot of people use these especially for their younger kids," said Andres.
He's referring to flushable wipes advertised as "safe for septic systems." However, Andres' crew has often found them to be the cause of sewage backup at homes, even popular businesses.
"Those flushable wipes, they'll get up in here and kind of get hung up in this spot, and they don't go away," Andre explained. "Then once you do two, three, this whole area gets backed up."
It's not that the wipes can't go down the toilet, but plumbers say they just don't disintegrate as fast as toilet paper.
KRQE News 13 found the items to be pretty popular.
"You just feel cleaner," one woman said.
"We don't use them in large quantities," said Karen Soto. "My rule is one flushable wipe per time you go to the bathroom."
According to the labels, using one-at-a-time will provide the best results.
"It still is a maintenance issue for us, with us having to clear them out of mechanisms and things like that," said David Morris, spokesman for the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority.
The water authority hasn't seen a huge problem in Albuquerque, but other places have.
In California, the Orange County sanitation district sparked a "What 2 Flush" campaign, after sewage clogs from wipes cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs.
Albuquerque's water authority has concerns.
"We expect it may become more of an issue as these products become more and more popular," said Morris. "Our stance is play it safe, just stick with toilet paper down the toilet."
The Roto Rooter manager News 13 spoke with said they handle two to three calls a day linked to toilet backups from flushable wipes.
Some manufacturers claim their product is tested and insist their wipes disintegrate within three hours.
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