Cottonelle Wipes and Septic

jerry_njJuly 13, 2011

I have been careful over the year to use a toilet paper that breaks down quickly in water, to assure it does not cause a blockage in my septic/drain-field system. I have used independent 3rd party tests to select the TP.

In recent times a member of the family has taken to using Cottonelle Wipes to supplement TP. I was told this was only occasionally and that the products is "listed" as safe for use in septic systems.

Any views on this subject?

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asolo

Have septic. Been using these for more than a decade while caring for elderly mom.

Notwithstanding the "flushable" printed on the label, my pumpers tell me they come out of the tank exactly as they went in. However, have not had any blockage issues. Then, again, I pump out every 4 years or so and accumulation may not have had time to block anything down there. Don't know.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 3:20PM
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justalurker

If your septic tank is a recent enough installation to have a "solids" filter on the tank outlet then it will still be in there when it's time to pump the tank.

If no filter then I wouldn't use them... the possibility of clogging the leach field is too great and the cost to correct that is too high to take the chance.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 3:43PM
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jerry_nj

Thanks, my system is NJ Code and was built in about 1985, so old but not ancient. It has a double tank, each with an access lid/riser. I think there is just a baffle between the two, I know I don't have to dig both to get the tank pumped.

I think my situation is light-duty compared to caring for the elderly, albeit that's about where I/we are. Still, I understand the use if infrequent, not even once a day.. I'll check. I remain concerned.

Any recommendations on TP? My wife asked if we could use TP that doesn't dissolve in the hand. As I said we've used a Septic recommend TP, Quilted Northern, but some tests say it is both soft and tough, and dissolves well in water. Maybe a tougher paper would eliminate the need for the wipes. I know when I was younger it was a lot easier to wipe... have I gone too far? Sorry, just looking avoid high cost septic system repair.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 4:10PM
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asolo

Don't know how far along "the path" you may be but....

As things began requiring more attention here and especially after consultation with pumpers the last time some years ago asking specifically about this, I changed our bathroom procedure. For mom's depends and these wipes, I keep a small plastic-bag-lined waste basket near the toilet. Soiled depends or anything other than TP go in there and I dispose of immediately and start over again. Removes septic tank concerns and keeps things clean with just a little extra effort and attention.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 4:29PM
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justalurker

Probably no filter on the tank outlet in 1985 I I would be cautious on anything that can get out of the tank and plug the leach field or distribution apparatus.

The repair for a plugged or saturated leach field may be to abandon it and put another field on the property. Many people don't have the area available for a replacement field.

You are wise to be cautious.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 5:58PM
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sschnath

We've been using these since April 30 of last year when we moved into our new home. We started having issues with leaking out of the lid of our septic tank a couple of weeks ago. Just had it pumped yesterday and the tank was full of wipes that had not decomposed. We won't know for a couple of weeks whether any bypassed the baffles and have clogged the leach field.

I did a little online research and found some municipalities are asking residents not to flush these into the sewer system. And our pumper said that anecdotally, he's seeing a lot of the same problem we experienced.

I don't know what kind of testing Kimberly-Clark did to determine these are septic safe but in my opion it doesn't appear to have been sufficient.

To anyone using these wipes, do yourself a favor and do not put these into a septic system, regardless of what the packaging says.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 5:00PM
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jerry_nj

Thanks for the follow up, I'll reemphasize to my wife to stop putting in toilet.

I took one of the Cottonelle (brand name I think) and put it in the bathroom sink and let it soak in water for a few hours. It was close to dissolved. I have decided however to try to stop these from being flushed. I'll try to remember to check the package, but I don't recall "Kimberly-Clark". I figured something more like Kleenex or similar brand.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 9:34PM
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