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What not to flush: Wipes among items jamming pipes

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The Associated Press | September 23, 2013 11:07 AM EST | AP

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Wastewater officials across the country have been trying to spread the message that not just anything can go down the toilet, and they have recently taken aim at wipes.

A public awareness campaign by the Orange County Sanitation District in California called "What 2 Flush" emphasizes that the toilet is meant only for the three Ps – pee, poop and toilet paper. It even says facial tissues are too sturdy to be flushed. Among the more unusual items it says people commonly flush that risk causing clogs: cat litter, condoms and dental floss.

A study by the Portland Water District in Maine in 2011 analyzed what was causing clogs in their sewer pipes and came up with this analysis:

_ 42 percent paper products, including paper towels

_ 24 percent baby wipes

_ 17 percent hygiene products, including feminine pads and tampons

_ 8 percent "flushable" wipes

_ Remainder, other items, including household wipes, cosmetic pads and medical materials.