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Communities want people to stop flushing pre-moistened towelettes

WAUKESHA, WI (WTAQ) - Waukesha is among the communities telling folks to stop using pre-moistened towelettes instead of toilet paper.  

One media outlet says it's a national problem, as wipes considered as flushable don't tear apart as they run through the sewers.

As a result, some places have spent millions of dollars to unclog pipes and pumps. Waukesha has had enough clogs to start a public campaign called "Keep Wipes Out of Pipes." 

In Bemus Point New York, things got so bad that officials set up basket strainers to find out which homes the wipes were coming from. They then pleaded with those residents both by mail and in person to stop using the pre-moistened wipes, which are becoming more popular.  

One media outlet says sales are up 5 percent a year since 2007, and they're now a $6 billion a year industry. 

Manufacturers say the flushable wipes are not the problem. Trina McCormick of Kimberly-Clark says 90 percent of problem items are actually paper towels, baby wipes, and feminine products that are not supposed to be flushed down. 

Wastewater officials agree those are problems -- but they say their troubles have grown at the same pace as the use of flushable wipes