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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

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Media Advisory: Wipes clog pipes - during COVID19 crisis and everyday, prevent sewage overflows by flushing only the 3Ps: toilet paper, pee, and poo

March 18, 2020 - The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services reminds the public that during the Coronavirus crisis and every day: Only flush the 3P’s - toilet paper, pee, and poo.

Any other material - such as cleaning wipes, “flushable” wipes, and paper towels - can cause clogs and sewer overflows that further impact public health and our environment.

That’s because toilet paper breaks down quickly in water. Other material remains intact. In fact, wipes are a leading cause of sewage overflows and costly clogs to City pipes and pump stations. Another leading cause is fats, oils, and grease poured down sink drains. 

As more people stay home and correctly follow public health official guidelines, Environmental Services offers this advice to prevent the most common causes of sewage backups and overflows:

  • Prevent wipes from clogging pipes. Only flush the 3 Ps: pee, poo and toilet paper. Other material belongs in the trash, not toilet.
  • Prevent fats, oils, and grease from clogging sink drains, and sewer pipes. Pour unused cooking oil and other grease into cans, let cool (it will turn from a liquid into a solid), and place in the trash.

For more tips: 

If you experience a clogged pipe in your home, call a plumber. If you experience or see a sewer overflow, call the City of Portland’s 24/7 hotline: 503-823-1700.  

The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services - your sewer and stormwater utility - provides Portland residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.  Follow on Twitter - @BESPortland. On the web: