Public Works News

It has been reported on national news that people have been buying toilet paper in bulk and those that can't get toilet paper are resorting to buying facial tissues and cleansing wipes.

Corry Public Works Department Lead Operator Mark Leofsky said items that don't break down like toilet paper should not be flushed down the toilet. 

"It does wreack havoc on a sewer system if you flush things that don't break down like toilet paper," Leofsky said. 

Sewer lines are made of clay and lines are made in sections.

"If those sections are misaligned or if there are broken sections of clay, those wipes will catch and build up until it plugs up the sewer line," Leofsky said. 

Tree roots can grow into sewer lines and will also catch solid masses and debris, he said.

A post on the city of Corry website and Facebook page on March 24 warns residents of the potential damage to the sewer system as well as the risk to workers who’d have to physically clean out the system in confined spaces. 

The post lists these items that are not to be flushed: Paper towels, cosmetic and baby wipes, contact lenses, medication, hair, feminine products, towels and flushable wipes.

Although a number of products are labeled as flushable, they still can damage the system and should not be flushed, according to the post.

Leofsky said this is a huge concern, amid everything else, and they are seeing a few issues in what they know to be problem areas around the city. 

Public works crews are increasing their usual monthly preventive maintenance to once a week now.

Leofsky said if anyone uses a product in lieu of toilet paper, they should put it in the trash after use. He said a combination of more people being in a house at the same time and people putting nonflushable material in toilets will strain certain areas of the system.

They’re working with a skeleton crew, Leofsky said, to keep up with routine tasks, and having some of the employees help out manning the 24/7 information desk at the Corry City Police station. 

Kathleen Spinazzola contributed to this article.


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