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Home Sewers


Helping to Prevent Sewer Overflows and Backups is Easy

Sewer overflows and backups can cause health hazards, damage home interiors, and threaten the environment.  A common cause of overflow is sewer pipes blocked by grease.  Grease gets into the sewer from household drains as well as from poorly maintained grease traps in restaurants and other businesses.

Grease is a byproduct of cooking that comes from meats fats, lard, oil, shortening, butter, margarine, food scraps, baked goods, sauces and dairy products.  When washed down the sink, grease sticks to the insides of sewer pipes (both on your property and in the street).  Over time, it can build up and block an entire pipe.

The results can be:

  • Raw sewage overflowing in your home or the house next door.
  • An increase in operations and maintenance costs for local sewer departments, which leads to higher sewer bills for customers.
  • An expensive and unpleasant cleanup that often must be paid for by you, the home or business owner.
  • Raw sewage overflowing into parks, yards, and streets.
  • Potential contact with disease-causing organisms.

Help prevent sewer overflows by:

  • Never pouring grease down sink drains or into toilets.
  • Putting baskets/strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids, and emptying them into the trash.
  • Scraping grease and food scraps into a can or the trash for disposal.
  • Speaking with your friends and neighbors about how to keep grease out of sewers.

When the wrong thing is flushed down the toilet, the results can include costly backups on your own property or problems at your local wastewater treatment plant.

>Baby wipes and diapers
>Rags and towels
>Cotton Swabs
>Candy and other food wrappers
>Clothing labels
>Cleaning sponges
>Plastic items of any description
>Aquarium gravel or kitty litter
>Rubber items such as latex gloves
>Cigarette butts
>Sanitary napkins
>Disposable toilet brushes

Whatever ends up in your toilet can potentially impact the water environment, so it’s important to keep household wastes such as window cleaners, unused or expired pharmaceutical products, paint thinners, fats and fruit labels out of toilets and drains and dispose of them properly.

Used by permission of the Water Environment Federation