The wrong kind of toilet paper blocks drains


Pink toilet paper

Image via Wikipedia

Impregnated toilet papers, ‘wet wipes’ and similar innovations are leading to increasing numbers of blocked drains.

Drain Doctor is receiving an increasing number of calls from householders who may have happy bottoms but are unable to flush their toilets. The problem is particularly significant in towns and cities with large areas of Victorian housing served by Victorian drains and sewers.

These new papers and wipes are not broken down by the flushing action in the same way as conventional toilet papers – they do not shear as easily. They therefore remain as whole sheets which can cause blockages if the flush does not clear them out of the drain and into the sewer.

There is a particular problem in older houses because the Victorians over-engineered everything. They put in 6 inch diameter drains where 4 inch diameter would have been quite large enough. This was OK when used with Victorian toilets because they were over-engineered as well – they released huge quantities of water when they were flushed.

Modern cisterns use much less water. This is not usually a problem because it is still enough to shear normal toilet paper and flush all the detritus through to the sewer. With some of these new wipes and papers, though, material is left in the pipes and gradually builds up to create a blockage.

The problem of drains getting blocked by the ‘wrong kind of toilet paper’ isn’t confined to the UK though. In the US similar problems have been reported.

The University of Colorado is blaming blocked drains and subsequent flooding problems which cost the institution more than $40,000 to repair on defective toilet paper. According to a lawsuit filed against Waxie Enterprises and Royal Paper Converting the paper they supplied to the university failed to disperse properly causing the toilets and the sewer lines to become clogged.

It is good for our business because we are getting an increasing number of calls but it would save householders and businesses money and inconvenience if they gave more thought to what they are flushing down the toilet – and the paper manufacturers thought more about the quality of their paper.

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