WEST ORANGE, NJ — Although residents should continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations regarding cleaning surfaces with disinfecting wipes to reduce the spread of COVID-19, members of the public are advised not to flush these disinfecting wipes, paper towels and/or similar items down the toilet.

West Orange officials are urging residents to properly dispose of these products in regular trash cans, as flushing them will lead to clogs in the sewers and cause backups and overflows at wastewater treatment facilities. This would include the Joint Meeting of Essex and Union counties, thereby creating an additional public health risk in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the township.

Although some wipes are labeled as “flushable,” these can also clog pipes and interfere with sewage collection and treatment, the township noted in a statement released to the community.

As wipes and paper towels do not break down in the same way as toilet paper, the township released a statement to residents urging them to “please dispose of these products properly so as to allow the Joint Meeting of Essex and Union counties and its dedicated sewer operators to continue to protect the health and safety of the communities during this crisis by operating the system properly.”