Wednesday, November 16, 2005

What really truly happens when you flush a tampon down the toilet.

The Bank of America and flushed tampons. AOL 9.0 and ragballs.  Advertising currently appearing at the top of my Journal page. The association was their choice and I was not given an option.  I wouldn't have gone that direction, were I they, but hey! Commerce!

Back to the subject du jour. 

What really truly happens to tampons (and applicators) when they are flushed down the toilet.  A note to the ladies.

Used tampons are small, a lot of women (from the evidence that I have seen) feel that it does no harm to flush one little feminine hygiene product down the toilet. WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! Tampons swell, applicators float.

There is a story told by plumbers, that tampons flushed into the waste stream swell to the size of a roll of paper towels and clog pipes. True.  But they stop at that size only because that is the size of the pipe. Tampons in the wild swell to the size of a prize sheep. If they had legs they would win the blue ribbon at the county fair.

What harm could flushing one little tampon do? Imagine, if you will, [and now that I am about to describe it, you will not be able to NOT imagine it] hundreds -  thousands of tampons tumbling and swelling as they travel through the sewers until they reach the local wastewater treatment plant. There they encounter machinery, sometimes called a "muffin monster" that shreds and rips attempting to turn these swelling system stoppers into something, well, anything less. That does happen.  But those plucky feminine hygiene products aren't about to give up! The shredded tampons mix and mingle with hair, the occasional twig and other non soluble things that were flushed when they should not have been.  Together they form ragballs.  Ragballs resemble felt.  Brown felt with dangling strings.

The strings catch on the equipment of the treatment plant. They hang from weirs, wrap around ladders, cling to the walls of the tanks.  Fire hoses, it takes high pressure fire hoses to dislodge them. Or worse, a city employee (almost always a male) wearing gloves and boots cutting ragballs off of the plant equipment and collecting them in buckets. Not a pretty sight.  Not a cheap process.  Women flushing tampons cost their cities tens of thousands of dollars a year in maintenance.  Don't do it.  Ever!

A quick note on plastic applicators; the ones that float are skimmed off and taken to the dump by the dump truck load.  No joke, entire dump trucks filled with white and pink bullet shaped pieces of plastic. Don't flush applicators either.



delela1 said...

Amen!  There's nothing worse than having a plumber in your bathroom in standing water holding a wad....well, you get the picture.  Does anyone really ever think about what gets flushed down toilets into our water supply?

memes121 said...

Okay well that is a vision I hadn't expected but I agree.

shayshaydc said...

Yuck!! Wouldn't want that job!!!

plieck30 said...

You have sure been doing your homework. I'm too old to own one thank goodness but I never never did flush one. I promise, I didn't. Paula

jevanslink said...

It figures I'd be reading this on Thanksgiving. Mrs. L

thisismary said...

Homework?  Ha!  Work work.  I am by trade a sludge hauler (taking a sweeping bow) the only female in the state of Ohio (that I am aware of) that actually does jobsite work on a regular basis.  Hey!  I took that whole women's lib thing seriously.  If we, as women, want the same opportunites that the boys have, some of us have to the jobs that they don't want to do either.  

BTW, Mrs. L? Ya want pictures?  Have em!  Good sense took over and I didn't include them with the original entry, still could!  Thoughts anyone?

onemoretina said...

    I got a good laugh out of this one.... it reminded me of being at my friends house when I was fifteen, and seeing the plumber walk out of her bathroom with the evidence dangling from his hand.  Her mother was furious, and it took my friend quite a few months of allowance to pay for his visit.  I made sure never to do the same thing.  
   Hello, Mary ... Nice to meet you !  I've enjoyed visiting your site.  Lots of good stuff here.  I'm glad I found my way over.  Tina