Submitted by: City of Bellingham, written by Amy Cloud

The first official case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Whatcom County. The County Executive has declared a public health emergency on Wednesday and the Governor announced community protection strategies. The City of Bellingham has plans in place to ensure the continuity of essential services, including water delivery and wastewater removal.

Even so-called flushable wipes need to go in the trash. Photo courtesy: City of Bellingham

Utility customers have a role to pay, as well. To protect oneself and help prevent the spread of this new virus it is important to wash hands with soap and water, stay home if ill, and sanitize frequently touched surfaces. For those who use sanitary wipes for this cleaning, it is important to know that “there is no such thing as a ‘flushable’ wipe.”  

Eric Johnston, Bellingham’s interim Public Works director, says it is important for the effective continuity of the City’s sewage treatment process to keep those wipes out of the waste stream.

“Wipes have to be pulled out of the City’s wastewater during collection and treatment —they plug up the whole system,” said Johnston. “Please just put them directly into the trash, as that’s where they will end up.”

For more information on flushing wipes, click on this Bellingham Herald article regarding the impact.

For more information on COVID-19, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) information page, https://www.cdc.gov/.  To find out what is happening in Whatcom County and for local recommendations regarding COVID-19, check the Health Department page, https://www.whatcomcounty.us/3329/Novel-Coronavirus-COVID-19.

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