WESTFIELD, NJ — Somebody must have purchased all those disposable sanitary wipes that are no longer on store shelves. And now that they’re being put to use, authorities have an urgent message for the public: don’t flush them.

Mayor Shelley Brindle said Friday that flushing wipes, paper towels and other paper products down the toilet can lead to expensive repairs.

“New Jersey American Water issued a reminder today about items that should not be flushed down the toilet,” Brindle said in a statement. “Flushing wipes, paper towels, or other paper products not intended for use in wastewater systems can lead to sewer backups and in-home plumbing issues which may be expensive to repair.”

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Manoj Patel, senior manager of Production for New Jersey American Water’s Statewide Sewer, in a news release said that even wipes labeled as “flushable” or “biodegradable” can cause backups for sewer utilities and serious problems for homeowners.

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“Your dedicated local wastewater system employees continue to come to work every day and make sure your community’s sewage is being properly treated,” Patel said. “We provide an essential service, so please help us out by putting wipes, paper towels and other products in the trash where they belong, not in your sewer system where they can damage our equipment and cause blockages.”

In nearby Clark, Department of Public Works Supervisor Scott McCabe told TAPinto Clark that his workers recently spent three hours unclogging a sewer pipe because of wayward wipes.

“Sewers are meant to carry waste products, things that break down,” McCabe said. “They were never designed for the amount of grease, wipes and garbage people put in them.”

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