Some readers may have gotten a laugh out of our strictly unscientific, tabletop experiment regarding flushable toilet wipes and how they don’t readily dissolve in water, despite some industry claims to the contrary. Our view is that the sheer simplicity of this experiment makes the truth all the more apparent: Flushing toilet wipes down the toilet is simply an atrocious idea.
Don’t take our word. Ask Andy Palmer or any of his fellow city utility operations pals who have the duty of scooping out materials that people mindlessly flush into city pipes, ultimately to gum up the works at sewer pump stations — everything from used dental floss to heavy-duty paper towels to, yes, flushable toilet wipes.
Our test showed that regular toilet paper left in a quart of water for 10 minutes disintegrated upon touch — while a flushable toilet wipe similarly placed in water remained strong enough to roll up and tie into a knot. Frankly, plumbers have been telling us the same thing for years — and some get a lot richer than Palmer does in their daily pursuits. In short, these things don’t disintegrate, at least not fast enough to keep them from causing a problem — if not in your home’s plumbing system, then possibly at your local sewer pump station.
Is this topic beyond the respectable scope of an opinion page that should be more properly focused on immigration policy in the United States, taxes and our sometimes dysfunctional criminal justice system at the county courthouse? Possibly. But if it’s costing taxpayer money needlessly, then more of us should be mindful of how easily we can save this money for other needs such as police protection, city streets and water. We strongly advise taking aim at the wastebasket.