Protect Your Sewer System - What Shouldn't Go Down the Drain

During periods of extreme rainfall, infiltration and flooding can cause sewage from sanitary sewer lines to back up into homes and businesses. These backups not only cause damage that is difficult and expensive to repair, but also create health hazards.

Sanitary Sewer Backup

There are many causes to sanitary sewer backups. These include: FOG, tree roots, and improper disposal of garbage.

  • Butter
  • Shortening
  • Margarine
  • Meat trimmings
  • Uncooked poultry skin
  • Vegetable oil
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil
  • Corn oil
  • Salad dressings
  • Gravy
  • Mayonnaise
  • Melted meat fat
  • Boiled poultry skin

According to the EPA, 65% of all sanitary sewer spills are FOG related

Prevent Backups

  • DO NOT pour fats, oils, or grease down the drain
  • DO NOT flush garbage or chemicals down the toilet
  • DO NOT flush “flushable” paper products down the toilet
  • DO NOT flush feminine hygiene products down the toilet

FOG is not the only problem

Sewer lines can be clogged by:

  • Tree roots
  • Improper disposal of garbage

Clogged sanitary sewer lines can be an expensive problem if sewage backs up on your property

Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG)

FOG may clog your pipes and cause a sanitary sewer backup. FOG solidifies when cooled and gets lodged in pipes. Please properly dispose of FOG.

Place cooled oil and grease into trash bins or covered collector


Watch Your Roots

Shrub and tree roots, seeking moisture, will make their way into cracks in the sewer line. Once the roots have penetrated the line through cracks, the roots can trap materials and cause a blockage.

Avoid planting trees and shrubs with shallow, spreading root systems near your sewer line.

Other sewer tips

  • DO NOT flush diapers down the toilet
  • DO NOT flush any flammable or hazardous materials down the toilet. It is not only damaging to the sanitary sewer system, it may be dangerous and illegal.
  • DO NOT put “flushable” paper products in the toilet other than toilet paper. They do not deteriorate like toilet paper.
  • DO NOT flush feminine hygiene products down the drain
  • Always wipe down greasy pots and pans with a paper towel and dispose of it in the garbage
  • Pour cooled oil, fats and grease into a can with a tight lid (i.e. coffee can) and dispose of it in the garbage

Throw Wipes Away

Cleaning wipes and baby wipes do not dissolve. Instead, they get stuck in the sewer pipes and pumping equipment, causing costly sewer backups.

Dispose of wipes, and personal hygiene products in the wastebasket.