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49 Things You Should Never Flush or Pour Down the Drain

Posted by David Schminke on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

Are you about to flush that thing down the toilet?

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Hold on! Think before you flush it! We spend millions of dollars cleaning sewer systems that get clogged, gunked up, and trashed. Here’s a handy guide to the common items that should NOT get flushed, tossed, or poured down the drain. Download our free poster "Wait, Don't Flush It!" to help spread this educational message to the public.

Don’t Flush It

  • Wipes (flushable and other types) - They have a tendency to build up and do not break down as traditional TP does.

  • Paper towels

  • Cloth towels

  • Unused Medications

  • Disposable Diapers

  • Sanitary Napkins

  • Cotton Balls

  • Cotton Swabs

  • Bandages and Bandage Wrappings

  • Condoms

  • Birth Control

  • Dental Floss

  • Cat Litter

  • Cigarette Butts

  • Paper Towels

  • Hair

  • Medical wastes

It may seem obvious that things like diapers and cat litterl shouldn't be flushed down the toilet, but these are things that we find in sanitary sewer systems. Other items like "flushable" wipes may appear to be safe to flush, but they aren't! Even small items like cigarette butts don't break down easily, and when they gather with enough other small items, plus grease, you have the perfect conditions for costly clogs and super knots in your sewer collection systems.

Solids

  • Fats

  • Ashes

  • Cinders

  • Sand

  • Mud

  • Straw

  • Metal (including metal shavings)

  • Glass

  • Rags

  • Feathers

  • Plastics

  • Wood

  • Fleshings

  • Entrails

  • Paper plates or cups

  • Milk Containers

  • Aluminum Cans

  • Tar

  • Sludges

  • Scums

Solid fats and the trimmings from meat (fleshings) should NOT be flushed or put down the drain via your garbage disposal. They will not only clog up your own household drains and pipes, they will cause problems for your municipal sanitary sewer system. Sludge, scum, and fats should be placed into garbage bags and disposed of with your other trash.

Liquids

  • Grease

  • Oils

  • Paint

  • Excess Dyes

  • Cleaning chemicals

  • Automotive fluids

  • Paint thinners

  • Bleach

  • Hazardous liquids

  • Gasoline

  • Kerosine

  • Alcohols

Hazardous materials should be disposed of properly and never flushed or poured down household drains or stormwater drains on the street. These materials can end up in rivers and lakes, causing destruction to fish and wildlife. Check with your local recycling center or waste management department to ask where you can safely dispose of these fluids.

Mysterious Objects We’ve Found in Sewers

  • Underwear/bras - the elastic in them causes issues with wastewater pumps.

  • Shittens

  • This thing: The Town of Owensville, Indiana found this ball of mystery gunk clogging a sewer! No, it’s not a new species or unidentified furry object. It’s a super knot of wipes, paper towels and other things that shouldn’t have been flushed down the drain.

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Wait, don't flush that!

Tags: stormwater, sanitary sewer, stormwater pollution, pollution

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