"Flushable" Wipes Blamed for 10,000 Gallon Bethesda Sewer Overflow

Last Thursday, a 15-inch sewer pipe collapsed in the Bethesda area, sending over 10,000 gallons of wastewater in the nearby Rock Run. Upon investigation, a culprit to the leak has been likely found.

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) say that "flushable" wipes are likely the cause of the backup and resulting pipe break.

"Many companies market personal hygiene wipes as flushable, however, these products do not break down and disintegrate in the sewer system like toilet paper. The accumulation of these wipes can lead to blockages in sewer mains, which can cause SSOs. WSSC Water reminds residents to keep the wipes out of the pipes and flush only the three Ps: pee, poop and paper (toilet paper)," they said in a statement.

Warning signs were posted in the vicinity to serve as a warning to residents to stay away from the overflow areas.

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