VICTORIA — In an attempt to keep waste processing equipment running, the B.C. government says all Vancouver Island residents must now write their address on any “wet wipes” they use. This way, municipal staff can track down who has flushed them.

“We all have to do our part during these unprecedented times,” said Nathan Poe, B.C.’s Minister of Septic and Sewage Processing. “While we would prefer you not flush these products at all, if you must, we simply ask that your municipality has a way to know where each flushed wiped originated from, so that a fine can be processed.”

Despite many brands saying the wipes are “flushable,” communities around the world say flushing them can clog and damage septic and sewer systems.

Cities from Vancouver Island to Florida are warning against flushable wipes.

Many cities have already begun alerting residents.

In Nanaimo, city staff posted an alert to residents and business owners on their web site. It said that while you should avoid putting these products in your toilet, they recognize that sometimes “an excess of feces necessitates flushing.”

City managers say they’re excited that the new program will return some city employees back to work. “We’ve so far had to furlough about 200 staff members since the COVID-19 outbreak,” explained Tracie Samra (no relation to the city’s former CAO). “This new project means we’ll be able to bring about 75 of those valued members of our city family back to work, as they sort through and rinse off thousands of feces-coated wipes in order to see the address.”