NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s a problem that isn’t new for Metro Water Service, but it is getting bigger as more people are home due to COVID-19.

Pump station operators in Nashville are spending more time each week manually removing blockages caused by customers flushing wipes and other sanitary products in the toilet.

“We really like to remind our customers because over time you forget and you become a little complacent and begin throwing stuff. But there is also that concern that we have so many people at home now due to COVID and they are using so many of these sanitizing wipes,” Spokesperson Sonia Allman said.

Allman says when things like dental floss, Q-tips and wipes are flushed they can create a mass inside the sewage pipes and can only be cut apart.

“There is no magic way to remove these so what our staff members have to do is actually shut down portions of the treatment plant and physically cut the wipes away from our mechanical equipment to remove them. Not a job that anyone wants to do,” Allman said.

Allman hopes images of the blockages caught on equipment will cause people to think twice before disposing of wipes down the drain.