What Not to Flush

Flushing the wrong stuff down the toilet can lead to costly home plumbing repairs. It also wreaks havoc with MSD's sewer system and treatment plants.

So keep your money in your pocket and your sewer rates as low as possible by learning "what not to flush" or put down your sink or drain.

Remember, your toilet is not a trash can!

CSO 125 Project (click for full image)

What Not to Flush:

The simple answer is you should only flush toilet paper, No. 1 and No. 2 down the toilet. Everything else should go in the trash can.

And the only things you should put down your sink or floor drain are soap and water. A little food residue is OK, especially if you have a garbage disposal, but not the whole plate.

Here's a list of common items that find their way into the sewers and either clog up pipes or need to be filtered out at the treatment plant.

  • Flushable Wipes: Wet wipes are marketed as "flushable," and technically they will flush down the toilet. However, they do not break down in water like toilet paper. Wet wipes are fibrous and can wrap around equipment causing damage or mix with grease and oils in wastewater to clog pipes.

  • Fats, Oils and Grease, also known as FOG: Fats, oils and grease from food congeal in the pipes and restrict or block flow. They also like to mix with wipes and other debris in the sewers to cause "fatbergs," which are congealed solid masses that can cause major pipe damage and sewer backups.

  • Hygiene Items: Hygiene items, such as tampons, sanitary pads, condoms, diapers, dental floss, Q-tips, cotton balls, bandaids, paper towels, hair, etc., do not break down in water and can wrap around equipment and combine with FOG. These items can also end up in our local streams and rivers due to combined sewer overflows during heavy rains. Yuck!

  • Medication: Flushing pills doesn't lead to clogged pipes, but it can contaminate our water supply. Many drugs aren't removed by traditional wastewater treatment so make their way into local streams and rivers.

  • Note: Any solid items larger than 3/8s of an inch that make it through the sewer system are typically filtered out at the treatment plant. Sewage entering the plant is sent through a screening process that removes these items for disposal at a landfill.



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