Don't Flush That: To Flush or Not to Flush?

Flushable Wipes:

  • While flushable personal wipes are indeed “flushable”, they don’t disintegrate, and as a result are clogging residential, business and municipal sewer pipes, as well as municipal sewage lift stations. They are also impacting the ability of the municipality’s sewage lagoons to properly treat wastewater.
  • In an effort to reduce costly expenses for residents, businesses and the City’s Water & Sewer Utility, the wipes should be disposed of in the garbage.
  • Municipal wastewater officials will continue to work with both the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) and the manufactures of the wipes to address the problem. 

Think Before you Flush!

Many people take it for granted that they can flush anything down the toilet.  This is simply not the case – a toilet is not a garbage can!  Very few items should be flushed down the toilet.  People do not realize that flushing certain items can result in a back-up of their own sewer line into their home or create problems for the Utility in our sanitary collection and treatment system.

Our sanitary sewer system is designed to collect and treat wastewater from residential and commercial properties.  Wastewater that comes from flushing the toilet should only contain human waste and toilet paper.  Other items may say they are flushable but in reality they do not decompose in the sanitary sewer system, may plug piping and cost more money to process at the wastewater treatment plant.

Items you should not flush down the toilet include:

  • Wipes (all types)
  • Diapers
  • Facial tissues and wipes
  • Dental floss
  • Cotton swabs
  • Hair
  • Tampons/Sanitary Napkins/Condoms
  • Old medicines
  • Food grease/fat

Toilet paper is designed to decompose and quickly breaks down in water. Just because an item can be flushed down a toilet does not mean it should be flushed. If you didn’t digest it, don’t flush it!

What About the Sink/Tub?

It is equally important to pay attention to what you are disposing of in your kitchen/bathroom  sink and tub.  Even a dishwasher or washing machine can be a source of costly sewer back-ups.  Follow the manufacturer’s directions and do not exceed the recommended amount of soap.

Fats, oils and grease are a major source of problems in sewer lines.  Never pour grease or fat down your drain; no matter how hot it is when you pour it in, it quickly cools and solidifies, creating a mess that could cost you money.  Wipe the oil/fat/grease from cooking pots, plates and utensils with a paper towel (that goes into the garbage) before washing. Garburators should not be used as they increase the burden on the wastewater treatment process.

Other items that should not be poured down the drain include

  • Chemicals (solvents, petroleum, etc)
  • Food scraps
  • Hair
  • Dirt (don’t rinse your flower pots in the bathtub or set tub)
  • Left-over paint

Prescriptions/Expired Medication

The active ingredients in prescription and over the counter medications may pose a threat to ecosystems when discharged into the environment after wastewater treatment.  These items should not be flushed down the toilet.  Most pharmacies will accept these expired products and dispose of them properly for you.