Houston News : Panic-buying of toilet paper could lead to another problem: substitutes

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Some consumers, worried about potential quarantines and supply disruptions caused by the coronavirus, are stockpiling household essentials.

Some consumers, worried about potential quarantines and supply disruptions caused by the coronavirus, are stockpiling household essentials.

Photo: Paul Takahashi

Some consumers, worried about potential quarantines and supply disruptions caused by the coronavirus, are stockpiling household essentials.

Some consumers, worried about potential quarantines and supply disruptions caused by the coronavirus, are stockpiling household essentials.

Photo: Paul Takahashi

Panic-buying of toilet paper could lead to another problem: substitutes

Amid the shortage of toilet paper at Houston supermarkets, residents should stop flushing paper towels and wipes down the toilet because they can clogs pipes and create sewage backups, Mayor Sylvester Turner and city officials warned Monday

Some stores have run out of toilet paper in recent days as people have rushed to stock up on household items during the new coronavirus pandemic. Turner and grocery stores executives sought Monday to reassure the public that there are no issues with supply chains, meaning stores will run out of supplies only if people buy far more than they need.

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Turner has expressed frustration several times over mass toilet paper purchases. Last week he tweeted, “The world is not coming to an end. But if it is all that (bottled) water and toilet paper you are buying will not get used.”

On Monday, he said the shortage is creating issues for Houston Public Works, telling reporters that “people are disposing of everything (down the toilet) and that’s not helping the system.”

Erin Jones, a spokeswoman for Houston Public Works, wrote on the neighborhood social media site Nextdoor that flushing products other than the “3 Ps” — pee, poo and paper — down the toilet would clog pipes, “leading to sewage backups into homes and onto streets.”

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“You definitely don’t want to be stuck at home with a sewage backup,” Jones wrote.

Houston Public Works Chief Operating Officer Eric Dargan, who oversees the department’s water utility, said city treatment plants cannot process products such as wipes or paper towels.

“We’re asking that the public just be conscious of that and understand that only toilet paper in small amounts should be flushed down the drain,” Dargan said.

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Source : chron.com