Think Before You Flush
Help Protect the Wastewater System: Think Before You Flush
The wastewater system begins in our homes and businesses and it is up to us all to protect the system from the beginning. Putting improper things down our drains can be very costly for both homeowners and the City. Remember you own the sewer line from you drain until it connects to the main line. This line is called a lateral line. Having the drains and lateral line cleaned out by a plumber can cost anywhere $200 to thousands of dollars.
The following are a list of things that should never be flushed in a toilet or put down any drain:
- Anything radioactive
- Automotive chemicals like antifreeze, coolants, brake fluid, oil, or transmission fluids
- Big chunks of waste, like sand, metals, cat litter, grass, plastics, or toys
- Cigarette butts
- Coffee grounds
- Cotton cleansing pads and cotton swabs
- Deceased pets: The wastewater system is not designed to take dead fish or small animals
- Dental floss
- Egg shells
- Fats, oils, and grease. (Oils and greases are the #1 cause of clogged drains and pipes in the US and the #1 cause of Sanitary Sewer Overflows.)
- Large quantities of household cleaners
- Paper towels
- Produce stickers
- Tampons or sanitary napkins
- Unused drugs or pharmaceuticals
- Wipes of any kind, (even if they say they are flushable). Wipes are the number 2 cause of clogged drains in the United States.
- Yard chemicals like fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides
What Can Go Down the Drains or Be Flushed?
- Non-chemical based liquids, like expired milk, pasta water, juices, left over coffee, liquid from dehumidifiers.
- Soaps and detergents
- Toilet paper
What Do I Do with the Stuff I Can't Flush?
The Garbage is Your Friend
- Keep a trash can next to the toilet for wipes, cotton swabs, tampons, sanitary napkins, dental floss, and condoms. All of these items can be disposed of as regular household wastes.
- In the kitchen keep a old milk jug or coffee can for grease. This can be sealed and disposed of in the trash or can be dropped off at a household hazardous waste disposal event.
- Used and unused automotive related chemicals, paint, household cleaners, and yard chemicals can all be dropped of at a household hazardous waste disposal event.
- Make sure you scrape off your dishes, utensils, and cooking implements into the trash before you wash them, yes even if you have a garbage disposal. This will prevent large food particles from washing down the drain and help to eliminate grease build up.
- Items like expired produce, egg shells, and coffee grounds can all be composted or placed in the trash bin.
- All cat litter should be disposed of in the garbage can. Cat litter tends to be made from clay based materials that expand when exposed to liquid, this expanded material gets caught in the u-bends in you drains creating expensive to remove clogs and can cause wastewater back ups else where in you home and the POTW.
Expired and Unused Medications
The wastewater treatment plant is not designed to remove pharmaceuticals from the wastewater. So, what this means is that these medicines stay dissolved in our water and can end up going back into the community in the reclaimed water. The only way to prevent this is to disposed of these items correctly.
These items can be brought to the Apopka Police Department or to the Northwest Orange County Sheriff’s substation for disposal. You can also talk to your doctor or pharmacist for other disposal options through them.
A third option is to mix the medications with liquids and then add them to used cat litter or coffee grounds to be disposed of in the trash. If you mix them with the coffee grounds, please do not then add them to you compost pile, make sure they go in the trash.