Saving our Sewers, the Environment and Money
Every year Municipalities across Nova Scotia spend hundreds of thousands of dollars unblocking pipes, cleaning up spills and removing grease build up from the sewer system. It doesn’t just affect municipal sewer lines; as soon as these things hit your plumbing they begin to coat or block the pipes in your home which could lead to sewer backups and expensive repairs.
Every household can play a part in protecting the environment from contamination and keeping sewers and septic systems unclogged.
You can help by following these easy tips!
- Remember the 3Ps rules:
“If it’s not toilet paper, pee or poo don’t flush it down the loo!”
All other items (even those labelled “flushable” or “biodegradable”) should not be flushed! Personal hygiene products do not breakdown and can cause costly blockages in our sewers and potentially into your home.
Here’s a quick guide of common products not to be flushed, and what we recommend you do with them. Alternatively check out our What Goes Where? tool.
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- Return unused medications or pharmaceuticals to your local pharmacy and household hazardous waste (HHW) e.g. paints, cleaners, stains/varnished, car batteries, motor oil and pesticides/herbicides, can all be taken can be taken to the East Hants Waste Management Center, or one of our annual HHW Events. These should not be dumped down your sink, flushed down your toilet or poured into storm drains as they could enter our source waters and potentially impact our drinking water. Also consider using eco-friendly household cleaning products.
- Consider washing your car in a carwash, as opposed to your driveway. Chemicals used for cleaning may travel in the form of runoff from your driveway, into storm sewers, resulting in a contamination of lakes, streams, or rivers. Canadian federal laws require commercial car wash facilities to drain their wastewater into sewer systems, therefore it is treated before being discharged back out. Many also recycle and re-use the rinse water.
- Have baskets or strainers in your sinks to collect food waste. It may seem convenient to put food scraps down the drain (or toilet), but it’ll be costing more in the long run.
- F.O.G. (Fat, Oil and Grease) is a major culprit for plumbing system blockages. These should NEVER be put down the drain. Don’t run hot water over them – you’re just pushing the problem down the pipe where they will cool, harden and eventually clog.
The Big Leak
Those of us who enjoy the convenience of Municipal water and wastewater services don’t always know how safe water gets to our tap or where wastewater goes when it leaves our home. Even fewer of us are aware of the severe problems facing our aging water and wastewater infrastructure, much of which we deal with in East Hants. The Water Brothers summarize current issues with outdated infrastructure in a 25 minute video called “The Big Leak.”