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Toilet Paper Shortage Leads To Sewage Backup In Redding

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Panicked shoppers have just about cleared all the store shelves of toilet paper in Redding because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now people are having to resort to using other materials in place of toilet paper, which appears to have caused a sewage backup Wednesday night.
Wastewater manager Josh Vandiver says his crew found used, shredded t-shirts clogging a pipe in the city’s sewer system.

“Now that everybody’s gone out and bought all the toilet paper in the area, the people that couldn’t run and get toilet paper before it was off the shelves are starting to run out,” Vandiver says. “So now people are starting to use things like t-shirts, and bed linens and paper towels and flushable wipes.”

Vandiver says there’s no problem with people getting creative, but they should throw these other materials into the garbage, not the toilet. Otherwise, the system could get clogged, causing sewage to back up into people’s homes.

“There are many products available on the market that falsely claim to be flushable,” reads a press release from the city of Redding. “Anything aside from toilet paper works to create a sewer backup, putting our larger sewer system, our water system and our community at risk for another health crisis.”

April Ehrlich is an editor and reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Previously, she was a news host and reporter at Jefferson Public Radio.