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Protect our water and environment, while preventing damage to your own pipes, by properly disposing of certain household items. Learn what not to flush.

Not all paper is created equal

Some things should not go down the toilet.  We tested to see what happens to flushable wipes, paper towel, toilet paper and tissue when they are left in water.  Watch to learn what paper products break down in water.

 

Products that are bad for your sewer pipes

  • Dental floss.
    Dental floss can get wrapped around the backflow valve in the sanitary sewer pipe, resulting in raw sewage backing up into your home.
  • "Flushable" baby wipes, cleaning wipes, disposable diapers and cotton swabs.
    These products are not "flushable" and can quickly clog up a sewer pipe.
  • Cooking fats, oils and grease.
    Fats, oils and grease cannot be broken down by flushing with hot water and soap. They will clog your pipes.

Products that are bad for your local watershed

  • Wastewater treatment facilities aren't designed to remove most medicines, personal care products or household hazardous wastes. Because of this, some products may get returned untreated into our lakes and rivers.
  • Anything that is washed or poured into grates at the side of the street will wind up flowing through the storm water system into our lakes and rivers. Storm water doesn't receive any treatment.

​Facts about sewers and pumps

  • Sewer pumps are part of the drainage system and help move sewage through the pipes over long distances and up hills (when gravity cannot be used).
  • Edmonton has 62 sanitary pumps and 17 storm water pumps.
  • Edmonton's sanitary sewer pump stations clog up with grease and other debris an average of 20 times a year.
  • An estimated $700,000 in staff time is spent on cleaning clogged pumps. It takes a three-person crew about a half-day to clean a pump and the cost of a new pump is anywhere from $10,000 to $120,000 depending on the size.

Trash it, don't splash it

Here are some useful tips to prevent costly sewer backups into your home and to help protect our rivers and lakes:

Product Bad for Pipes Bad for Watershed Disposal Method

Personal Care Items

​Needles ​X ​Put into a sharps container. Take it to an Eco Station or other appropriate waste disposal facility.
​Hair ​X ​Dispose of it in your garbage.
​Batteries ​X ​X ​Take it to an Eco Station or other appropriate waste disposal facility.
​Condoms ​X ​Dispose of it in your garbage.
Dental floss X Dispose of it in your garbage.
Disposable diapers X Put into a plastic bag. Dispose of it in your garbage.
Baby wipes/Cleaning wipes X Dispose of it in your garbage.
Cotton swabs X Dispose of it in your garbage.
Tampons and feminine hygiene products X Dispose of it in your garbage.
Lotions and perfume X Dispose of it in your garbage.
Nail polish X Take it to an Eco Station or other appropriate waste disposal facility.
Pharmaceuticals/medicines X Return unused prescriptions to the pharmacist.

Pet Waste

Cat litter X Put into a plastic bag. Dispose of it in your garbage.
Cage lining (ex: newspaper) X Dispose of it in your garbage.
Wood shavings X Dispose of it in your garbage.

Household Products

Plastics (ex: bags, ballons, etc.) X Dispose of it in your garbage.
Paint and turpentine X X Take it to an Eco Station or other appropriate waste disposal facility.
Paint stripper X X Take it to an Eco Station or other appropriate waste disposal facility.
Solvents X X Take it to an Eco Station or other appropriate waste disposal facility.
Floor and furniture polish ​X Take it to an Eco Station or other appropriate waste disposal facility.
Glue X X Dispose of it in your garbage or take it to an Eco Station or other appropriate waste disposal facility.
Cooking fat, oil and grease X Allow it to set and dispose of it in your garbage

Garbage and Garden

Fertilizer X Take it to an Eco Station or other appropriate waste disposal facility.
Pesticides and herbicides X Take it to an Eco Station or other appropriate waste disposal facility.
Motor oil, lubricants and antifreeze X Take it to an Eco Station or other appropriate waste disposal facility.

Here are some useful tips to prevent costly sewer backups into your home and to help protect our rivers and lakes:

Product Bad for Pipes Bad for Watershed Disposal Method

Personal Care Items

​Needles ​X ​Put into a sharps container. Take it to an appropriate waste disposal facility.
​Hair ​X ​Dispose of it in your garbage.
​Batteries ​X ​X ​Take it to an appropriate waste disposal facility.
​Condoms ​X ​Dispose of it in your garbage.
Dental floss X Dispose of it in your garbage.
Disposable diapers X Put into a plastic bag. Dispose of it in your garbage.
Baby wipes/Cleaning wipes X Dispose of it in your garbage.
Cotton swabs X Dispose of it in your garbage.
Tampons and feminine hygiene products X Dispose of it in your garbage.
Lotions and perfume X Dispose of it in your garbage.
Nail polish X Take it to an appropriate waste disposal facility.
Pharmaceuticals/medicines X Return unused prescriptions to the pharmacist.

Pet Waste

Cat litter X Put into a plastic bag. Dispose of it in your garbage.
Cage lining (ex: newspaper) X Dispose of it in your garbage.
Wood shavings X Dispose of it in your garbage.

Household Products

Plastics (ex: bags, ballons, etc.) X Take it to an appropriate waste disposal facility.
Paint and turpentine X X Take it to an appropriate waste disposal facility.
Paint stripper X X Take it to an appropriate waste disposal facility.
Solvents X X Take it to an appropriate waste disposal facility.
Floor and furniture polish ​X Take it to an appropriate waste disposal facility.
Glue X X Take it to an appropriate waste disposal facility.
Cooking fat, oil and grease X Take it to an appropriate waste disposal facility.

Garbage and Garden

Fertilizer X Take it to an appropriate waste disposal facility.
Pesticides and herbicides X Take it to an appropriate waste disposal facility.
Motor oil, lubricants and antifreeze X Take it to an appropriate waste disposal facility.