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Think before you flush

Think before you flush


Sewers are designed to take away wastewater from sinks and baths, as well as toilet paper and human waste flushed down the toilet. Many people cause blockages in sewer or damage to the environment by putting trash down the toilet. Just because an item is called disposable doesn't mean it is safe to flush. Instead you should bag it and put it in the garbage. Don't flush it.

Our sewers are not designed to cope with modern disposable products. As a result these items can cause blockages. The drains connecting your home or place of work to the city sewer main are only big enough to carry water, toilet paper and human waste. They are often only a 4 inch pipe. It is estimated that around 75 percent of blockages involve disposable items. To help avoid drain pain and a drain on resources, remember to bag it and put it in the garbage. Don't flush it. Disposable products, such as cotton balls, condoms, diapers, baby wipes, hand wipes, plastics, feminine products, bandages and dental floss to name a few can find their way into the environment if they are flushed down the drain.

Another way you can help prevent drain pain is by not pouring grease down your drain and using your garbage disposal less. Grease is a byproduct of cooking. It comes from meat, lard, oil, shortening, butter, margarine, food scraps, baking goods, and dairy products. When grease washes down the sink, it sticks to the inside of the pipes that connect your home or place of work to the city’s sewer main. Eventually, the grease can build up until it completely blocks the sewer pipe. That can create difficult and expensive maintenance problems. Blocked sewer pipes can cause raw sewage to back up into your home or place of work, or even overflow into the streets and streams. I think it is safe to say no one enjoys that.

Garbage disposals do not keep grease out of the sewer pipes. Products that claim to dissolve grease may dislodge a blockage, but will only cause problems father down the line when the grease hardens again. Reducing foreign objects going down the kitchen sink will also help prevent you from the dreaded drain pain.

Here are a few things to do:

1. Do recycle used cooking oil or properly dispose of it by pouring it into a sealable container and placing it in the trash.

2. Do scrape food scraps into the trash, not the sink.

3. Do wipe pots, pans, and dishes with dry paper towels before washing or rinsing them, then throw away the paper towels.

4. Do place a catch basket or screen over your drain when rinsing dishware or when peeling or trimming food to catch the scraps that would otherwise be washed down the drain. Throw the scraps in the trash.

Here are a few things on the ‘do not do’ list:

1. Do not use your garbage disposal for grinding up food. It does not remove fats, oils, and grease it only chops them up into smaller pieces. Even non-greasy food scraps can plug sewer lines. Do not put food of any kind down the drain.

2. Do not pour cooking oil, pan drippings, bacon grease, salad dressings, or sauces down the drain.

3. Do not use cloth towels or rags to wipe greasy or oily dishware. When you wash them the grease will end up in the sewer.

4. Do not run water over dishes, pans, fryers, and griddles to wash oil and grease down the drain.

The most important thing to do to help prevent you from the dreaded drain pain is think before you flush or pour down the drain.


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