Be careful what you flush

The drain on toilet paper at lake-area stores continues. Shelves are virtually empty. Try as we might to keep a supply on hand, it is becoming a challenge.

While this might not be the most pleasant topic, some residents who are becoming desperate are turning to other materials, and that probably isn’t a good idea if you’re flushing them down the toilet, says Public Works Director Matt Michalik.

The word from wastewater officials is this: Please flush only toilet paper.

Many of us have turned to baby wipes, flushable wipes, tissue or even paper towels. But using materials other than toilet paper can cause severe clogging and damage to plumbing. It also can cause a backup of either your sewage system or the city’s wastewater system. Toilet paper is designed to break down in wastewater systems. Even the supposed-flushable wipes have been known to cause problems at the city’s pump stations.

Matt Michalik says raw sewage can ultimately back up through drains in your house or the city’s numerous manholes. Raw sewage carries a variety of unsafe bacteria.

So, please, if you must use material other than toilet paper dispose of it in a plastic bag and then place it in your trash can. And if you're opposed to the overuse of plastic bags, then use a paper bag or just bury it in the trash.