Watch what you flush.

That's always been the message from the Western Virginia Water Authority.  But it says one commonly-used product is giving them sewage problems.

Names can be deceiving.

Despite the name, its actually flushable wipes that are causing the problem.   

Maintenance crews from the Western Virginia Water Authority perform daily sewage system colonoscopies, taking scopes through the underground waterways to make sure things are up to par. When they do that, officials say they're looking for blockages or irregularities.

Lately, that's meant they're looking for the wipes.

"They really just don't break down the way they need to in a sanitary sewer collection system," said Sarah Baumgardner with the Western Virginia Water Authority.

The manufacturers of these flushable wipes insist they aren't the problem.  Sewage maintenance crews beg to differ, saying these things can ruin the sewage treatment process.

Folks with the western virginia water authority say there's been an increase in popularity with these flushable wipes and that's why this problem's come about. They say the only thing that should really be flushed down is toilet paper.

"We have seen that in the past couple of years, more motors having damage, more sewer lift stations having damage and we have had pumps burn up because of this problem," said Baumgardner.

Fixing these pipes, pumps and motors can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And this doesn't seem to be a problem going away anytime soon.

"We actually see this problem getting worse because more people are buying these products, more people are flushing these problems and it is causing more blockages," Baumgardner said.

The Water Authority is at least hoping to tame the problem through education and outreach.

They used to say don't flush fats, oils, grease or medication, now they'll be adding these wipes to the list.