Sanitary Sewer Concerns Press Release 

Due to possible stockpiling and the resulting shortage of toilet paper as a result of COVID-19 concerns, we have heard of the increased use and flushing of non-flushable materials such as baby wipes, napkins and paper towels. While the “flushable” wipes concern is not new to wastewater facilities, there is an increased risk due to the current lack of availability of toilet paper. We ask that our community members pay extra attention to what they are using and flushing and remind you not to flush anything other than toilet paper.

The COVID-19 outbreak concern has created additional stress and uncertainty for everyone, and while we understand that supply shortages exacerbate these stresses and challenges, it is important to keep in mind that flushing anything other than toilet paper can create expensive problems for homeowners and your local facilities. Flushing wipes (even those labeled “flushable”) and other non-toilet paper materials causes clogs, backups, equipment and pipe breakages, and in bad cases, can even force raw sewage back into peoples’ homes. Because we are a public utility, the cost to repair these damages is unfortunately borne by individual homeowners or the public. We want to avoid any and all of these problems and allow our facility workers to focus on their jobs to keep our facility up and running.

Properly addressing this issue requires each of us to be extra mindful, especially in the days and weeks ahead, but also beyond the recent concerns with COVID-19. We ask that you pay close attention to what is being used in your home, and make sure you are only flushing toilet paper and properly disposing of all other materials.

As a reminder, the following products are NOT flushable and must be disposed of in a waste basket:

  • Paper towels
  • Napkins
  • Kleenex and other tissues
  • Wet wipes/baby wipes (even those labeled as “flushable” wipes)
  • Diapers
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Gauze/Band-Aids

Thank you for helping keep our community and facilities clean and functioning! If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at Winona Public Works at 507- 457-8269.

Keith Nelson
Winona Public Works
[email protected]
507-457-8269
cc: News Media
City Council
City Manager’s Office
Public Works