“Don’t flush your money down the drain.”
That’s the message from the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority and the New Mexico Environment Department.
Both entities are reminding people that the only paper product that should be flushed down a toilet is toilet paper.
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has made toilet paper a difficult commodity to find on store shelves. Consequently, people are turning to alternatives, such as baby wipes, paper towels, facial tissue and feminine hygiene products. This includes wipes that may be labeled “flushable.”
These products do not break down like toilet paper, and can cause sewer blockages and overflows, and possibly damage sewage treatment equipment.
Instead, if using any of these items, dispose of them in the garbage, Water Authority spokesman David Morris said Friday.
A blockage from flushing the wrong things down a toilet can be expensive if a homeowner has to call a plumber. Prices can range from $100 to more than $300, depending on the company and the type of work that is required, said Kevin Lafollette, general manager of Affordable Service Inc. in Rio Rancho.
Unclogging a toilet could involve passing a drain snake through a toilet, removal of a toilet, or snaking through a cleanup pipe located in the front or side of a home to clear all the way to the sewer line that connects to the home.
Morris said there has not yet been an increase in reports of sewer or drainage problems in the city or county.
“We just wanted to remind folks to be mindful of the issue because nobody wants to deal with sewage backing up into their home on top of everything else,” he said.