The Problem With “Flushable” Wipes

Flushable wipes, marketed as an alternative to toilet paper, are slowly but surely causing significant damage to the nation’s sewer systems and the environment. Because these wipes don’t disintegrate like toilet paper, they cause considerable problems by clogging drains and sewers.

What’s the big deal? The package says flushable.

Currently, there are no regulations regarding the use of the word “flushable” when marketing these products. That means baby wipes, flushable wipes, makeup wipes, and other such products can claim to be flushable even though they cause substantial issues within home plumbing and sewer systems.

Unlike toilet paper, these wipes do not break down easily. According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, “Over 50% of the raw materials used in wet wipes are cellulosic natural biopolymers such as regenerated fibres (Rayon and Lyocell), wood pulp and cotton, that are all able to biodegrade in an aquatic environment. For a product to be fully biodegradable it must entirely consist of these materials, however synthetic fibres can be found in wet wipes labelled as flushable. Toilet paper as an example is a material which solely consists of cellulosic pulp and disintegrates well after disposal.”

The problem compounds when the non-biodegradable material contained in flushable wipes meet other materials in the sewer system, like oil. The grease accumulates on the wipes, and large balls of grease and wipes form. These masses clog the sewage system’s vital components and must be removed regularly. Major clogs can damage the system causing increased fees and costs to the taxpayers.

“Greenwood Utility District continues to experience substantial issues with residents
improperly disposing of wipes and grease into the district’s sanitary sewer system.
When these items are flushed down the toilet or poured down the sink, the district is
incurring significant costs making repairs to the district’s sewer lines and sewer pumps.” – Municipal District Services

How To Solve This Problem

The Wastewater Infrastructure Pollution Prevention and Environmental Safety Act (WIPPES) was introduced to the House in 2021. The act would require the Federal Trade Commission to issue regulations requiring manufacturers responsible for labeling retail packaging of premoistened, nonwoven wipes to label such products clearly and noticeably with the phrase “Do Not Flush.” The WIPPES Act has been amended and is now awaiting approval by the House Ways & Means Committee. This proposed legislation will ensure that consumers know whether they are purchasing a flushable product that they can safely flush down the toilet without damaging their pipes or clogging sewers.

Until consumers are more clearly informed about the products they purchase, the best solution is to toss the disposable wipes into a trash can after use. That same sentiment is true for any non-biodegradable product that may get stuck in the system, including makeup wipes, baby wipes, cleaning wipes, cotton balls, Q-tips, feminine hygiene products, dental floss, etc. The only appropriate flushable items are toilet paper and human waste.

Spread the word to your family, friends, and neighbors about the dangers of flushing these products down the drain. Remember – Wipes Clog Pipes.

Contact the district if you have any questions regarding what is safe and unsafe to pour or flush down your drains.

Greenwood UD Quarterly Newsletter – Volume 3

We hope you all had a wonderful summer! As we head into the new school year, the board has selected H.M. Carroll Elementary to participate in this year’s Water Smart Program. There are many more updates pertaining to your utility services below which we hope you’ll take the time to review.

Greenwood Board of Directors

Water Quality Report

During the month of June each resident should have received the annual drinking water quality report for 2021 in the mail. You can also view the report on our website under the documents tab.

View The Report

Trash Contract Update

The board reviewed contracts for trash collection services, and voted to keep services with OFS Solid Waste. Starting in October services will include heavy trash pickup on both collection days.

View Trash Collection Info

Upcoming Meetings

Join us for our monthly meetings on the third Wednesday of each month. Never been to a meeting? Public comments are taken at the beginning. Arrive early and voice your concerns or ask questions about your water and wastewater services.

View Schedule


Hurricane Preparedness

Although hurricane season officially started in June, Houston typically sees more activity in August and September. Use these emergency tips to be prepared for any weather condition.

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Hurricane Preparedness


Hurricane season officially kicks off each year in June, but as most Houstonians know, the activity we see in our region picks up in August and September. We have compiled 5 useful tips to prepare your family and your home in case a hurricane makes landfall in our area.

1. Make an Emergency Plan

Before a disaster strikes, prepare for what you and your family will do in such an emergency. is a useful resource to start your plan. You can download an emergency communication plan and fill it out with your families’ specific needs including deciding on an emergency meeting place and saving important contact numbers. Store this information in a place that all family members have access and know what to do in case you need to use it.

2. Stock Up

Stock up for your family and furry friends before a storm hits. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recommends having enough supplies to last a minimum of three days. Items like medicine, baby formula and diapers, food and water, pet food and supplies, and a full tank of gas are recommended to be in supply not only for the storm but also for the potential aftermath when supplies may be scarce or limited. For a full list of recommended supplies visit

3. Find Your Evacuation Route

Keep yourself informed on mandatory or suggested evacuations with your favorite local news source before a storm hits. View the Texas Department of Transportation’s official evacuation route map for more information.

If you decide to shelter in place, but need to evacuate afterwards do your best to tune into the news to understand any potential road closures or updated routes. Your best option may be to find a local shelter. Visit the Houston Office of Emergency Management site for details after the storm or download the FEMA app for a list of shelters.

4. Prepare Your Home

Each storm has a unique footprint. Some are wind events and others bring in large amounts of rain. Either way, you can help minimize damage to your home and surrounding community by doing the following:

  • Bring in outdoor plants and furniture
  • De-clutter drains and gutters
  • Park your vehicles off the street or in a garage
  • Tie down trampolines or other large structures that cannot be easily taken indoors
  • Unplug electronics to prevent surge-related damage
  • Trim trees and shrubs especially if they are close to your home or roof
  • Stay tuned to local weather for additional tips based on the type of weather event expected

5. Charge Your Electronics

Keep your cell phone charged when a threat of a hurricane becomes imminent. Power outages will be common and your cell phone could be a lifeline to important information including evacuation notices or directions to the nearest shelter.

In case of a severe weather event that affects your clean drinking water or sewer system, the board approved an emergency communications alert plan earlier this year. All accounts were automatically enrolled in our text message alert system. This will allow us to communicate to you should a power outage prevent you from receiving alerts from our website or via email. An example of an alert is a boil water notice.

Have questions or concerns about Greenwood UD’s emergency text alert communication plan?

Contact us with your concerns. Public comments are taken at the beginning of each monthly meeting held on the third Wednesday at 6:30PM. Check out the schedule if you prefer to make your comments to the board in person.