An increasing number of products are being advertised for ease of use. A scrubber to clean the toilet, then push a button, pop off the top and flush it. When you flush them they disappear, but they hardly go away.
Linc Mann, with the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, says they're leading to clogs in pipes and damage to pump stations and other equipment.
This video shows a pipe from a house connecting to the sewer pipe in the street completely clogged with baby wipes. The clog resulted in sewage backing up into the house.
Mann says "The problem with these wipes is they never break down."
The City of Portland created the video below to show how different items break down when agitated. Toilet paper breaks down almost immediately, because that's what it's made to do. Products such as baby wipes don't break down.
The damage to sewer systems is a cost you pay. If it's a problem in the line from your house to the street that's a cost you have to pay for the repair. Sewage systems have to do more maintenance cleaning of main lines and pump stations that get clogged and those costs come to you in higher sewer rates.
Mann says the only items that should be flushed are toilet paper and human waste. Products may advertise they're flushable, but they won't break down even if they make it to the sewage treatment plant.