When it goes down the drain, it’s gone, right? WRONG! The wastewater system is designed to dispose of water, toilet paper, and bodily fluids. ANYTHING else can potentially block the flow, causing everything that went down to come back up. Backups can happen in your home, the street, lift stations, and wherever is there an opportunity for reverse flow. Many products don’t belong in your drains and can cause damage to pipes, along with negatively impacting our water supply.
COMMON ITEMS FLUSHED AND WHY THEY SHOULD NOT BE
Wipes- No Wipes in the Pipes! Even those labeled “flushable” are too thick and do not break down easily.
Feminine Hygiene Products- Designed to absorb moisture and expand, prevents safe passage through pipes.
Paper Towels, Napkins, and Tissue- Designed to absorb moisture and stay together when wet, they do not break down easily.
Animal Training Pads- Constructed of a waterproof film that prevents liquid from passing through and a super-absorbent polymer and fluff pulp, which turns liquids into gel. These do not break down in water and can cause major pipeline blockages.
Cotton Balls and Swabs- They do not break down in water, instead they gather together and are difficult to dislodge.
Grease, Oil, and Fats- Grease may go in as liquid, but as soon as it hits the drain, it cools and becomes a pipe-clogging wax. Pour leftover grease in a can and then throw it away. Learn more at Cease the Grease.
Cat Litter- Made from clay and sand, two things that should NEVER be flushed. Cat waste contains toxins and parasites that are not good for the health and safety of the system.
Condoms- Easy to flush, but not so easy on the wastewater system. Condoms can inflate like balloons and cause destructive obstructions in the pipes.
Medication- Wastewater treatment processes are not designed to remove chemicals found in drugs. These chemicals can then be pumped into the lakes and streams, contaminating ground water and wildlife downstream.
Disposable Diapers- Made from a toxic plastic designed to expand when wet does not flow in pipes.
Dental Floss- It can wrap around objects in pipes, making small clogs bigger in an instant.
Cigarette Butts- Full of chemicals that can end up in the water supply.
Plastic Bandages- Made of non-biodegradable plastic that is harmful to the environment and causes clogs in pipes.
Pets- Goldfish are most commonly flushed, but small rodents (hamsters and gerbils) have also been found in the wastewater system. They’re sturdy and can create clogs. Please consider a proper burial.
Food- Although food is biodegradable, it doesn’t always break down as fast as we think. It can lump together and cause clogs in pipes.
Hair- Like floss, it can tangle, creating a “net” that can create clogs.