With toilet paper selling out at stores across the area some people may be using other products as an alternative — but this has the potential to cause major problems for city sewer systems.

Cities across the southwest metro are reminding residents to only flush toilet paper and human waste down the toilet.

Products like cleaning wipes, baby wipes, paper towels, napkins or sanitary items cannot be flushed down the toilet, even if the product is describe as “flushable,” cities including Minnetonka Beach and Plymouth said in emails to residents.

These items do not break down like toilet paper does and can clog the sewer system, lead to issues with sanitary sewer lift stations and result in sewer backups into homes, causing additional public health hazards, the cities said.

Flushing products not designed to be flushed has been a problem for cities in recent `the city has spent “thousands of dollars” cleaning wipes and other paper products from the sewer system in recent years.

Melissa Turtinen is the community editor for Lakeshore Weekly News and Eden Prairie News. She's passionate about adding context to stories and informing people about what's going on in their community. She enjoys being outside, traveling and good beer.

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