Deep inside every adult male is a 13-year old boy who resembles popular MTV animated stars, "Beevis and Butthead" This immature version of our adult selves still giggles at juvenile humor.  That younger version of me really likes the idea of a "Do Not Flush" list, but the reasoning behind it is deadly serious.

Ok, is not really all that serious.  This website does disseminate some pretty good advice. "Flush only the 3 P's! Pee, Poo and (Toilet) Paper. According to Patty Potty, water treatment experts are calling the proliferation of flushed non-flushable wipes a "global crisis"

Photo: via YouTube
Photo: via YouTube

Perhaps Patty is inclined to exaggeration.  So I dug deeper. It was a stinky job, but I felt it was necessary to get to the bottom of this dilemma.  What I found were numerous news stories about a 300 ton "fatberg".  That's what they called the huge sewage blockage in Birmingham, England that resulted from people who wash and flush the wrong things down the drains.

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I always thought the scariest thing in the sewers were alligators.  Boy, was I wrong. Fatbergs, made up of things that should never be flushed, are costing hundreds of millions of dollars in sewage problems worldwide.  The problem has surfaced here in the United States, and why not.  We love fatty things and fatty things clog up drains.

Not only that, but many manufacturers of so-called "flushable" wipes are just not being 100% honest with us. Almost all "flushable" wipes are not really all that flushable. While the paper the Charmin bears love so much disintegrates in about two minutes, wipes take at least six hours to disintegrate.

Even the pumps that move the poop downstream in the sewer, can't tear those "flushable" wipes apart. So, if the wipe makes a point to remind you that they're "flushable," pretty much count on the fact that if you do, you might be causing yourself or others a big stinky problem.

Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash
Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash

So back to Patty Potty. She really knows what she's talking about. She says we all have a responsibility to protect water quality and our environment as well as prevent costly water treatment plant repairs.

She's assembled A "Do Not Flush" List that is well-researched and one that is very similar to the Union of Sewer Workers recommendations.

Her list includes:

  • diapers
  • paper towels
  • facial tissue
  • cotton swabs
  • baby wipes
  • adult wipes
  • hair
  • gum wrappers
  • candy wrappers
  • facial pads
  • dental floss
  • cigarettes
  • cotton balls
  • scoops of kitty litter
  • women’s hygiene products
  • all purpose cleaning wipes
  • adhesive bandages
  • makeup remover wipes

Also on the list for different reasons, are old prescription medications.  They don't necessarily clog the pipes, but all those drugs are getting into our waterways and contaminating the marine life.  All that Prozac is actualy making the fish ok with being caught.  That's really ruining the sport of fishing. It might also be contributing to a general malaise from people who eat a lot of fish.

Obviously, the 13-year-old kid deep inside me has had a lot of fun with this topic, but it is a deadly serious topic.  #Thinkbeforeyouflush.  I'm hoping that will go viral. In any event, try to remember that there really is a "Do Not Flush" list.


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