Mount Shasta Public Works had to flush the storm drain system with fresh water from a hydrant last week to clean up after a sanitary sewer overflow.

Mount Shasta Public Works had to flush the storm drain system with fresh water from a hydrant last week to clean up after a sanitary sewer overflow.

Public Works Director Rod Bryan said the Alma Street overflow was caused by a blockage from wet wipes and marketed as “flushable.”

“I read somewhere, you can flush a sweatshirt down the toilet, but that doesn’t mean it is flushable,” said Bryan, who urged residents not to flush anything down the toilet except human waste and toilet paper, even if the packaging claims it’s safe for sewers.

This includes wet wipes, tampon applicators and other female hygiene products, toilet bowl brushes, kitty litter, q-tips, dental floss, medical waste, paper towels and tissues.

Bryan said these items do not dissolve, as advertised, and instead end up clogging the sewer system. Plastic tampon applicators and other trash also makes its way to the city’s wastewater treatment facility, where crows scatter it around and make a mess.

Bryan asked city residents to place all items other than human waste and toilet paper in the trash, not the toilet.

When sewers overflow, like last week on Alma Street, Bryan must report the issue to the state and do thorough cleanup and mitigation.

Sewer water that gets into the storm drain does not go to the wastewater treatment plant; it eventually is flushed into the Sacramento River, he said.

Bryan must report spills within two hours and then clean up the area and determine the cause of the overflow. Public Works has been doing consistent sampling to ensure last month's spills have been cleaned up, he said, and all this costs the city money.

A recent estimate on the sewer issues in January is $40,000, Bryan said.

In addition to costing taxpayers, flushing such items can also back up lines and cause homes to have sewer overflows, Bryan said.

The bottom line, said Bryan, is that toilets aren’t trashcans, and he asks residents to stop using them that way.