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So-Called “Flushable” Wipes Causing Pipe, Sewer Problems
CBS DFW ^ | October 4, 2013

Posted on 10/04/2013 11:41:55 PM PDT by nickcarraway

With each and every flush, some North Texans are doing something that could cost them and their respective cities a lot of money. We’re talking about those so-called “flushable” wipes.

At one time or another you’ve probably used a moistened wipe — maybe it was for your baby or to take off make-up. But as the wipes get more and more popular they’re wreaking havoc with plumbing systems.

North Texas mother Tiffany Sanchez admitted that she uses a lot of the wipes. “Every diaper change. If he [son] is sticky or dirty.”

Sanchez also said she uses the wipes religiously for herself. “Sometimes the toilet paper doesn’t do the job.”

Sanchez isn’t alone and the increased use of the wipes is causing problems. Ben Bravo, with Bravo’s Plumbing explained it in a unique way. “Think of it like paper towels on steroids!”

Despite what manufacturers claim, the wipes — even the ones that say flushable — do not dissolve. Plumbers say they can get tangled in pipes and completely clog them.

“It’s [the wipe] really strong and durable and when you flush it, it won’t dissolve 100-percent,”Bravo explained. “Over time all that knitting will accumulate in the sewer.”

The wipes are not biodegradable so they don’t break down in sewage systems. In east Fort Worth, the wipes that manage to get through end up at the wastewater treatment plant. The plant is where water is cleaned and recycled.

Speaking about the individual wipes Mary Gugliuzza, with the Fort Worth Water Department, said, “It can sometimes cause problems if it gets caught up in pumps, at lift stations, or here at the treatment plant.”

If the wipes make it to the plant the city then has to separate and discard them, sending big dumpsters to area landfills. The extra work costs city residents extra money.

“People could easily dispose of those things in their own trash instead of sending it to us and us paying for it,” Gugliuzza said.

While the clogs, tie-ups, and extra processing is costing the city and residents, the end result is the exact opposite for plumbers. “Money for me — gold,” Bravo said smiling.

City officials say the flushing of moist wipes does impact water bills, but the cost is not that significant.

For the city however — it does cost thousands of dollars to send the wipes to landfills.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Local News; Miscellaneous
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1 posted on 10/04/2013 11:41:55 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

This is bullcrap. The clogs are caused by all the low flow toilets. The line falls were all calculated with higher water volumes moving material and the new water saving stuff and low flush toilets greatly reduce it while sending in the same or more waste.

Sewers have always clogged, and the primary seed and growth factor for it is human hair and grease/fats.

The media is all of the sudden running with this probably because some dog excrement eating politician wants to sponsor some legislation on baby wipes and or similar items...


2 posted on 10/04/2013 11:47:23 PM PDT by Axenolith (Government blows, and that which governs least, blows least...)
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To: nickcarraway

The landlords here keep pleading with the residents to quit pouring their used cooking oil down their drains. They say it goofs up the sewer lines.


3 posted on 10/04/2013 11:48:02 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (You can't invade the mainland US There'd be a rifle behind every blade of grass.)
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To: nickcarraway

The latest industry the environmentalists want to financially destroy.


4 posted on 10/04/2013 11:49:56 PM PDT by flaglady47 (When the gov't fears the people, liberty; When the people fear the gov't, tyranny.)
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To: nickcarraway

Oh, so that’s what is clogging up the senate and the white house.


5 posted on 10/04/2013 11:50:57 PM PDT by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free..... Even robots will kill for it!)
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To: Axenolith

it is more than just one thing, having a combined effect.

1. low flows
2. pipe diameters sized for older toilets, not newer ones
3. old cast iron piping that has rougher surfaces that catch debris
4. flushing down “ultra” tp and wipes and lady products that do not break down. tp in the past wasn’t as ‘durable’ and broke up more.
5. roots, as always, invading a main line. grease and fat and hair stuff clog smaller secondary lines, not main sewer lines.


6 posted on 10/04/2013 11:53:23 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

it doesn’t help. if the oils are solids at room temp they’ll be solid in the pipe.


7 posted on 10/04/2013 11:54:29 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: nickcarraway
Baby wipes, a real problem for these... NOT!
8 posted on 10/04/2013 11:56:34 PM PDT by Axenolith (Government blows, and that which governs least, blows least...)
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To: nickcarraway

Solid trash belongs in the garbage can, not the sewer pipe. For fecal matter, OK, but who really needs to remove makeup and then flush that down the sewer? It is amazing how many people see their toilet as a wet garbage can.

Solid waste belong in the garbage NOT the toilet.


9 posted on 10/04/2013 11:58:44 PM PDT by Freedom_Is_Not_Free (Free goodies for all -- Freedom for none.)
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To: Freedom_Is_Not_Free

It’s a liquid garbage disposal! What do you think sludge de-waterers and applicators are for anyway??? :-)


10 posted on 10/05/2013 12:06:19 AM PDT by Axenolith (Government blows, and that which governs least, blows least...)
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To: Axenolith

I disagree with you. Wipes are designed to be strong; whereas toilet paper is designed to “dissolve” in water. A lot of engineering is involved in making toilet paper. When I was growing up in the 60s we had a septic tank; which had to be pumped every so many years. One day, the guy, who was pumping our septic tank, out told my mother to never put facial tissue in the septic tank, because it would cause her to call him more often, so the issue has been around for a long time.


11 posted on 10/05/2013 12:07:47 AM PDT by fini
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To: nickcarraway

So sorry to hear about the city having to pay to dump my wipes in a landfill, (HORSE CRAP), But considering that they have raised my water and sewer rates over 400% in the last decade they can go pound salt.


12 posted on 10/05/2013 12:09:31 AM PDT by Jim from C-Town (The government is rarely benevolent, often malevolent and never benign!)
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To: nickcarraway

My guess is the problem is not so much “flushable” wipes as it is the increase in types of products that *look* like they might be flushable i.e. baby wipes, feminine hygeine items, facial tissues, antibacterial wipes, and so on.

Flushable wipes are specifically not much tougher than high-end toilet paper, and (presumably) are designed to break down in the sewer at least to some degree. All those other things aren’t, but people no doubt figure that “it should be ok anyway”. Multiply that by a couple hundred thousand people, and it starts to be a real problem.

And as others have no doubt pointed out, the reduced water flows in sewers designed for 3-gal flushes probably contributes to the problem.


13 posted on 10/05/2013 12:16:22 AM PDT by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: Axenolith

What is that?


14 posted on 10/05/2013 1:03:25 AM PDT by PastorBooks
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To: Axenolith
This is bullcrap. The clogs are caused by all the low flow toilets. The line falls were all calculated with higher water volumes moving material and the new water saving stuff and low flush toilets greatly reduce it while sending in the same or more waste.
Sewers have always clogged, and the primary seed and growth factor for it is human hair and grease/fats.
The media is all of the sudden running with this probably because some dog excrement eating politician wants to sponsor some legislation on baby wipes and or similar items...

BINGO!

Wipes are insignificant compared to the effect of "water conservation."

Since public sewers began being installed in the 19th century, the engineering principle of hydraulics played a central role in its transparent success. As the saying goes, it's not rocket science, but it IS engineering.

Liquids flow in round pipes is predictable, with a well known relationship between liquid depth and the velocity of flow. Add to that the fact that sewage is not a pure liquid, and we get to the crux of the matter.

Plumbing pipe sizes were standardized to provide a minimum flow velocity, for anticipated volumes, of 2 feet per second. Any lower than that, and solids settle, accumulate and eventually clog. What determines the velocity is the slope of the plumbing, which has always been 1/4 inch per foot for plumbing inside walls and in structure crawl spaces.

There is no way to mitigate the reduced speed of water flow without inducing silting and eventually clogging.

When physical laws are involved, the combination of ignorance, arrogance and good intentions usually yield unintended consequences of the worst kind.

15 posted on 10/05/2013 1:17:19 AM PDT by publius911 (Look for the Union label, then buy something else.)
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To: PastorBooks
What is that?

Think of those as industrial very high volume garbage disposers, which pretty much pulverize any solids that reach a treatment plant, to allow the sewage to be treated in a more liquid state.
Unfortunately in very flat terrain serving a small neighborhood, or town, it's often necessary to use series of smaller pumps to get the sewage to the treatment plant.

16 posted on 10/05/2013 1:31:37 AM PDT by publius911 (Look for the Union label, then buy something else.)
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To: nickcarraway

“Sometimes the toilet paper doesn’t do the job.”
To much information Tiff!


17 posted on 10/05/2013 1:43:33 AM PDT by BigCinBigD (...Was that okay?)
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To: Axenolith

Agreed.

First thing you always gotta do is FOLLOW THE MONEY?

Where is it likely that money is to be made, or not being made here? Think about it. Can anybody say toilet paper?

If these things are flushable/biodegradable per the manufacturers statements on the package and some city/group/whoever says they aren’t then prove your case and sue for damages, if you can. Likely as not you would lose.

Bad toilet design, people using baby wipes that might not be flushable and thinking they are. People using too many of them at once - any number of reasons.

I use these things and the impact on actual product (e.g., regular rolls) use is amazing. I don’t even buy toilet paper any more, except for the wifey who goes through them a lot for makeup, use and etc....

Follow the money (not being made).


18 posted on 10/05/2013 2:19:27 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

My BIL is a plumber....he says the worst thing you can do is to put hot grease or oil down the drain. If you have to do it, run it with cold water. It keeps the oil from infiltrating and building up as much.


19 posted on 10/05/2013 2:21:41 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: Gaffer

The other thing he says is this: There’s two things you gotta know to be a plumber 1) sh!t flows downhill, and 2) DON’T bite your fingernails!


20 posted on 10/05/2013 2:23:55 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: Secret Agent Man

” grease and fat and hair stuff clog smaller secondary lines, not main sewer lines.”

*Fatberg ahead! How London was saved from a 15-tonne ball of grease*

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/aug/06/fatberg-london-sewer-grease-blockage


21 posted on 10/05/2013 2:26:36 AM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: Axenolith

Diaper wipes are not flushable, only the smaller, adult ones.


22 posted on 10/05/2013 2:37:37 AM PDT by steve8714 (Are we fighting for peace in Syria? Don't we already know what that is like?)
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To: nickcarraway

I wonder what effect they have on septic systems? This sounds like they could be real trouble and lead to the failure of the leach field.


23 posted on 10/05/2013 2:51:36 AM PDT by Truth29
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To: nickcarraway

Throw the wipes in the garbage. They can also be composted along with vegetable debris> For those with cesspools and septic tanks its an absolute no-no to throw wipes or grease down the toilet.


24 posted on 10/05/2013 2:59:14 AM PDT by tflabo (Truth or Tyranny)
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To: nickcarraway

Since the wipes are marketed as flushble, how long until the lawsuits?


25 posted on 10/05/2013 3:18:58 AM PDT by goodwithagun (My gun has killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy's car.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

London had a massive “fatberg” in their sewer system for that very reason. It was about the size of a city bus.

Eeech.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/23586290


26 posted on 10/05/2013 4:36:03 AM PDT by AnAmericanAbroad (It's all bread and circuses for the future prey of the Morlocks.)
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To: nickcarraway
The Bears are to BLAME -- Kill the bears with their super and ultra soft toilet paper...

27 posted on 10/05/2013 4:41:38 AM PDT by BCW (The War in Iraq - http://babylonscovertwar.com/index.html)
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To: nickcarraway

The French had the right idea with bidets...


28 posted on 10/05/2013 4:41:58 AM PDT by trebb (Where in the the hell has my country gone?)
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To: nickcarraway

Flushable wipes clogged the pipes buried outside my house and cost me $1500 in repairs. The piping was cast iron. The toilet was a newer low GPF model but it sent those things on their way no problem. So it has nothing to do with what kind of toilet you’re using. All the clogging accumulated at an elbow in the pipe. They’re not flushable at all. Since then we’ve stopped putting them down the toilet.


29 posted on 10/05/2013 4:48:28 AM PDT by BillyBonebrake
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To: publius911

Exactly. It is obvious to a plumber and/or civil engineer.

“Low flow” toilets and urinals are as stupid as the idea of “man made global warming”.


30 posted on 10/05/2013 4:55:39 AM PDT by texican01
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To: Axenolith

This is bullcrap. The clogs are caused by all the low flow toilets. The line falls were all calculated with higher water volumes moving material and the new water saving stuff and low flush toilets greatly reduce it while sending in the same or more waste.

Sewers have always clogged, and the primary seed and growth factor for it is human hair and grease/fats.

The media is all of the sudden running with this probably because some dog excrement eating politician wants to sponsor some legislation on baby wipes and or similar items...


Good points. Yes I bet with you that there is some pol using this as a campaign issue for his pet project

Most wipes are small and have no problem going thru the system. Most are also designed to break down


31 posted on 10/05/2013 5:01:30 AM PDT by SeminoleCounty (Fact Is: GOPe want ObamaCare.)
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To: nickcarraway

Journalism. I don’t see any attempt made to get the flushible wipe manufacturers’ side of the story. From what I’ve read there is confusion between adult toilet flushible wipes vs. handi wipes and baby wipes which are not flushible. But why screw up a sensational expose?


32 posted on 10/05/2013 5:34:13 AM PDT by Procyon (Decentralize, degovernmentalize, deregulate, demonopolize, decredentialize, disentitle.)
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To: Axenolith

Bingo, daughter of steamfitter.


33 posted on 10/05/2013 6:11:34 AM PDT by az wildkitten (8 years 'til I retire)
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To: Axenolith
This is bullcrap. The clogs are caused by all the low flow toilets.

My liberal BIL just bought his first house. It's a 50s ranch in original, but very good, condition. The bathroom is vintage. He's very proud of it.

After I complimented him on it, I said, "you know, if you ever decide to move, make sure you take your toilet with you."

"Why?"

"You have one of those old ones that flush. The new ones have to be flushed two or three times."

For some reason, he didn't look happy.

34 posted on 10/05/2013 6:16:12 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: Axenolith
"Sewers have always clogged, and the primary seed and growth factor for it is human hair and grease/fats."--"It’s a liquid garbage disposal!""

I get the impression that you aren't a plumber, clearing toilet stoppages, clearing sewer lines and replacing sewer lines.

35 posted on 10/05/2013 8:40:11 AM PDT by ansel12 ( 'I'm on That New Obama Diet... Every Day I Let Vladimir Putin Eat My Lunch' .)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

If you have a low quality or non functioning toilet, then you need to buy a better one.


36 posted on 10/05/2013 8:42:13 AM PDT by ansel12 ( 'I'm on That New Obama Diet... Every Day I Let Vladimir Putin Eat My Lunch' .)
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To: texican01
“Low flow” toilets and urinals are as stupid as the idea of “man made global warming”.

Especially that now it takes four flushes where one used to do the trick.

First, you always have to do a "Verifying Flush" before you even sit down, to make sure the toilet won't overflow from before.

Then it takes two or three flushes after you've done your business.

37 posted on 10/05/2013 9:04:03 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: ansel12
If you have a low quality or non functioning toilet, then you need to buy a better one.

You can only buy low-flow now, AFAIK.

38 posted on 10/05/2013 9:28:20 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

Modern toilets work fine, if yours doesn’t then you need to buy a better one.


39 posted on 10/05/2013 9:36:02 AM PDT by ansel12 ( 'I'm on That New Obama Diet... Every Day I Let Vladimir Putin Eat My Lunch' .)
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To: dfwgator
Especially that now it takes four flushes where one used to do the trick.

Great, now we are up to claims that it takes "four flushes".

I just sold and installed a toilet yesterday, since I give a one year guarantee on parts and labor, then I would really be in trouble if the toilets I sold didn't work.

40 posted on 10/05/2013 9:39:03 AM PDT by ansel12 ( 'I'm on That New Obama Diet... Every Day I Let Vladimir Putin Eat My Lunch' .)
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To: ansel12
Our home was built 15 years ago. The newer 1.6 gallon/flush toilets constantly clog.

Here's what HGTV has to say about low-flow toilets. Low flow toilets have a bad reputation.

41 posted on 10/05/2013 9:43:14 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

AL: These babies are made in Maine, you know, at the little Ferguson factory. It's the Stradivarius of toilets and my dad could play it like a violin.

AL: Yup, I'll never forget the time my dad took me on a trip to Maine, to visit the factory. On the way up, I had to go to the bathroom. I begged my dad to pull into a truck stop. He said no. "Wait till we get there. It will be worth it." It was.

BUD: Excuse me here, dad, but a toilet is a toilet.

AL: Bud, today's toilets aren't worthy of the name. They come in designer colors, they're too low, and when you flush 'em they make this little weak almost apologetic sound. Not a Ferguson. It only comes in white and when you flush it... "BaahWhooosh."

AL: That's a man's flush, Bud. A Ferguson says, "I'm a toilet. Sit down and give me your best shot." Oh, if a Ferguson could talk, the stories it could tell. And now I've got one of my very own. (TEARING UP) Yeah. If only my dad could have lived to see this moment.

42 posted on 10/05/2013 9:49:29 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator

awesome post!


43 posted on 10/05/2013 9:52:22 AM PDT by nascarnation (Democrats control the Presidency, Senate, and Media. It's an uphill climb....)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

Did you even read that article that you linked to?

Do you think that I would give a 1 year guarantee to not charge for a replacement toilet AND the installation, if modern toilets didn’t work?

If your toilets don’t work, buy some that do.

“”The Lowdown on Low-Flow Toilets:
No longer the bane of bathrooms, the modern low-flow toilet saves water and provides ample flushing power.””

“After much consumer grousing, toilet manufacturers stepped up to the porcelain throne and made some design modifications and outright changes to the traditional method of waste disposal to make low-flow toilets more efficient.”
(snip)
“So today’s gravity-assisted toilets often have design adjustments, such as wider flapper valves (the hole in the center bottom of the tank where the water flows down into the bowl) and trapways (the hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl). Glazing or finishing the trapway to cut down on friction and ease the way for waste is another design change.”


44 posted on 10/05/2013 10:05:47 AM PDT by ansel12 ( 'I'm on That New Obama Diet... Every Day I Let Vladimir Putin Eat My Lunch' .)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

The quotes are from the article you linked to, that you should have read before doing so.

“”The Lowdown on Low-Flow Toilets:
No longer the bane of bathrooms, the modern low-flow toilet saves water and provides ample flushing power.””


45 posted on 10/05/2013 10:07:40 AM PDT by ansel12 ( 'I'm on That New Obama Diet... Every Day I Let Vladimir Putin Eat My Lunch' .)
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To: ansel12
Yeah, sure. The bigger hole was a breakthrough. No one thought of that before. They work fine.

So why did they invent the compressed-air versions?

Since gravity can only do so much with so little water, pressure-assisted flush toilets use pressurized air in the tank to push the water into the bowl more forcefully, which helps to make up for the lower water amount.
You can't defy the laws of physics.
46 posted on 10/05/2013 10:15:49 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

Live with your problems, your determination to remain ignorant shows that you deserve them, you work so hard to retain both, at least for the last 15 years.

In the meanwhile I will continue to offer a 1 year guarantee to replace my toilets free of charge if anyone has a problem with them.


47 posted on 10/05/2013 10:23:44 AM PDT by ansel12 ( 'I'm on That New Obama Diet... Every Day I Let Vladimir Putin Eat My Lunch' .)
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To: ansel12

I want a turbo.


48 posted on 10/05/2013 10:29:53 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: Axenolith

>>This is bullcrap. The clogs are caused by all the low flow toilets.<<

I see that you are not a homeowner.


49 posted on 10/05/2013 3:26:15 PM PDT by B4Ranch (AGENDA: Grinding America Down ----- <<http://vimeo.com/63749370)
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To: PastorBooks

A Muffin Monster (tm) sewage grinding pump.


50 posted on 10/05/2013 7:47:26 PM PDT by Axenolith (Government blows, and that which governs least, blows least...)
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