In its ceaseless battle to keep sewer pipes from clogging, Raleigh, N.C., has identified several menaces over the years, including grease, cornstarch, packing peanuts and the modern scourge of garbage disposals.

In its ceaseless battle to keep sewer pipes from clogging, Raleigh, N.C., has identified several menaces over the years, including grease, cornstarch, packing peanuts and the modern scourge of garbage disposals.

Now the people who run the sewer systems in Raleigh and elsewhere in the country have found a new enemy: flushable wipes.

Tissues and wipes of all stripes get balled up with hair and grease in the city’s pipes, creating clogs that send sewage cascading from manholes. The problem has gotten worse in recent years with the introduction of wipes designed to disappear down toilets, Raleigh Wastewater Treatment Superintendent T.J. Lynch said.

Products such as Charmin Fresh Mates and Cottonelle Fresh Flushable Moist Wipes promise consumers a “shower-fresh” feeling for their bottoms, with the convenience of flushability. But, Lynch said, they don’t break down the way toilet paper does in city pipes:

“What we see a lot of times in the collection system are overflows caused by those types of materials that don’t degrade like they’re supposed to or they claim to.”

Elsewhere, sewer systems are having similar problems. Last month, officials in Sitka, Alaska, asked residents not to flush flushable wipes, saying workers had been untangling them from sewer machinery.

Consumer Reports dropped three types of flushable wipes into a beaker of spinning water for a half-hour, with results similar to Raleigh’s.

Makers of flushable wipes insist they are flushable and safe for sewer and septic systems. Dave Dickson, a spokesman for Kimberly-Clark, maker of Cottonelle and Scott flushable wipes, said its wipes won’t clog a properly functioning sewer system.

Customers are advised to flush only one or two wipes at a time.