Wastewater is produced when you shower, wash clothes, flush the toilet, prepare your meals, and clean up dishes. However, not everything that is disposed of down the drain is safe for the plumbing in your house or safe for the miles of public sewers that service your community.
Items such as fats, oils, and greases (FOG), pharmaceuticals, paints, solvents, motor oil, antifreeze and others cannot be effectively treated by wastewater treatment plants and will ultimately end up entering rivers, lakes, and the ocean untreated after passing through the plants.
The Halifax Regional Municipality has designated special waste depots for many household items which should not be poured down drains or flushed.
“Flushable” wipes are clogging sewers across Canada and are costing Canadian ratepayers at least $250-million a year. While these “flushable” wipes may swirl down the toilet with ease, they don’t disintegrate, creating serious problems as they work their way through sewer systems on their way to treatment plants.
Don’t dump any of the following items down the toilet or sink. Put them in the garbage:
- Cigarette butts
- Wipes (baby and/or adult)
- Sanitary napkins
- Cotton swabs
- Dental floss
- Fats, oils and grease
- Tampon applicators
Many household items such as pharmaceuticals, paints and solvents and wastewater from carpet cleaning, car washing, and pools and hot tubs that enter our sewer systems cannot be effectively treated by municipal wastewater treatment systems.
Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) dumped into the sewer system can block sewer laterals, cause a back-up of raw sewage, and may result in expensive repairs to your home or business.
Common examples of ingredients that produce FOG are:
- butter, margarine, lard
- cooking oils
- dairy products
- baked goods
- food scraps
- sauces and dressings
These items should never be disposed of into sink drains or toilets. They should be cooled, wiped and placed in your green bin.
Storm drains are for rain and snow melt only. Dumping toxic chemicals such as those mentioned above, or even soapy water into the storm drain is prohibited by Halifax Water’s Rules and Regulations [PDF].
If you witness someone pouring something down the storm drain, please call 902-420-9287 or email the Halifax Water Customer Care Centre immediately.