What Not to Flush

Fats, oils and grease (FOG

) - should never be poured down the sink, garbage disposal or toilet. FOG sticks to the interior surface of the sewer pipes, hardens over time and eventually may cause sewage to backup and lead to a sewage spill in your home or on our streets. Running hot water as you pour the grease down the drain will not help either. Many people are unaware that pouring hot water and detergent down the drain only breaks up grease temporarily. Pour grease into a can (an empty coffee can works great). Keep it in the refrigerator so the grease can cool/harden, and then dispose of it in the trash. Remember to put FOG where it belongs.

Bathroom wipes

- which sometimes are advertised as flushable, are not, sewer officials insist. Neither are tissues, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, make-up pads, various medical materials, condoms and dental floss. Paper towels, diapers, baby wipes and facial tissues are made of materials that don’t break down easily and can cause all pipes to clog. Even if a large object like a diaper makes it to the sewer main (if you're that lucky) they can cause blockages in the sewer main and can cause city pumps to fail. The trash is the place for these items.

Don't Flush Trouble Public Service Announcement 30 sec.
Don't Flush Trouble Public Service Announcement 60 sec.


- should not be flushed down the sink. Use a drain screen in your sink to catch any remaining bits of food as you wash the dishes. Use your garbage disposal sparingly. Using the drain as a dump will have unforeseen consequences of clogging sewer lines and possible backups in your home. Never use your garbage disposal as a substitute for the trash can. Scrape grease and food scraps from trays, plates, pots, pans, utensils, grills and cooking surfaces into a can or the trash for disposal. Be especially careful with pasta, potatoes, and other starchy foods. Starch and water make paste, which can plug pipes. Be even more careful with what goes down the kitchen drain if you don't have a garbage disposal. Another way to get rid of food is to compost what you can and wipe or scrape the remnants in the trash.

Never dump kitty litter down the drain

- many of these products contain clay which will narrow the opening of your sewer pipe. Eventually it may plug your sewer pipe.

Coffee grounds and eggshells

- should be properly disposed of in the trash. Never put them in the garbage disposal. Crushed eggshells and coffee grounds can also be used for making garden compost


- always seems to make its way past the plug. Hair will catch and stick to other items and is very difficult to get out of piping once it gets in. Keep hair from going into the pipes by using a fine drain screen to catch hair in your bathtub and shower and dispose of it properly in the trash.

Household hazardous materials

- such as motor oil, pesticides, paint and solvents should never be poured down the drain. All of these are highly toxic and will cause long term damage to the environment. Dispose of these items by contacting the nearest household hazardous waste collection center where these and other household items can be dropped off. If there is just a little unused paint left, put the can in a safe place (inaccessible to children, pets, or ignition sources) and remove the lid so the remaining contents can dry out. Once the contents have dried out, replace the lid and dispose of the can in the trash or recycled. For additional information click on Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics.

Sewer pipe cleaning chemicals

– use carefully and sparingly, follow label instructions closely to avoid dangerous fumes, skin and eye injury, and pipe and fixture damage. Proper care of your home sewer pipes will decrease the need for chemicals.

Prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications

- contain chemicals that you don’t want entering the wastewater supply. Keep in mind that sewage is treated and recycled, so we want to keep our wastewater as chemical-free as possible. Our wastewater treatment plants were not designed to remove all those chemicals from the water. The best way to dispose of items like these is to make them undesirable, such as crushing them and then mixing with coffee grounds, kitty litter or dirt before sealing them in a plastic bag and disposing in the trash. Another option is to utilize a facility that takes back unused prescription drugs and medications: View links for more information and locations: Prescription Drug Take Back Program or Safe Disposal of Medicines.

Never plant trees over your sewer service line

- roots are the leading cause of service line blockages. If you have any roots in your sewer service line, the grease, food waste, and large objects just mentioned are even more likely to cause blockages.