City sues six flushable wipe makers, claiming they clog sewer systems

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A city in Minnesota is suing six makers of so-called "flushable wet wipes" because it claims they are clogging wastewater systems.

A lawsuit was filed in federal court Thursday by the city of Wyoming, the Star Tribune reports, which is arguing that the city's pipes and pumps have been blocked by disposable baby, facial and disinfectant wipes, costing them money.

"These flushable wipes do not degrade after flushing," the city says in its lawsuit, according to the newspaper, adding that they remain intact as they enter the municipal sewer line, causing "thousands, if not millions, of dollars of damages."

KSTP reports that Wyoming wants a jury trial for its class-action lawsuit, and adds that Kimberly-Clark is among the six companies named in it.

The company, which makes Cottonelle wipes, said it has an "extensive testing process" to ensure its wipes meet industry guidelines and it stands by its "flushability," the TV station notes.

The issue has affected other cities in Minnesota, too.

Last month, the Brainerd Dispatch reported problems the city of Wadena was having with disposable wipes, which they say were causing backups in its sewerage systems.

"I know how easy it is to just send this stuff down the pipe," Wadena Public Works Director Dan Kovar told the newspaper. "But unfortunately, just because it makes it down, doesn't mean it's going to not cause you a problem. If it causes someone else a problem, it's all taxpayer money that is spent trying to resolve these problems."

In 2013, Today reported that flushable wipes were causing problems across the United States, costing municipalities millions of dollars to send teams to unclog systems.

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