Due to an increase in the volume of items that can cause issues with the City of Salem’s wastewater treatment operations, Mayor Justin Green recently made the following notice available from Wastewater Superintendent, Troy Watts:

“We are seeing an uptick of problems at the wastewater treatment plant due to
disinfecting wipes being flushed,” said Watts. “Please remember sewer systems can get clogged when improper items are put down the drain or flushed. This can cause backups and overflow at our treatment facilities, which can create additional public health concerns.”

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, people around the country have flocked to stores to purchase large quantities of toilet paper, leaving shelves empty and others scrambling to find an alternative.

“It is also advisable to refrain from flushing paper towels or wipes labeled as “flushable” or “septic-safe” as some wipes with this label can still cause issues with wastewater
systems” said, Superintendent Watts.

Mayor Green and Watts remind residents that flushable wipes must have 3 main

1. They must break down quickly into small pieces,
2. They should not be buoyant or float,
3. They should only be made of ingredients that will easily and naturally degrade.

The city asks for your help in keeping the system operating and functioning well, particularly during this time, by only throwing your disinfecting and other wipes, including paper towels and baby wipes, in the trash.

For updates and information from the City of Salem, please visit the website at