Save Our Sewers

July 21, 2017

Unblocking pipes, cleaning up spills and removing grease build up from the sewer system can be a major cost to municipalities. These issues can affect municipal sewer lines and can lead to sewer backups and expensive home repairs

Every household can play a part in protecting the environment from contamination and keeping sewers and septic systems unclogged.

Remember the 3Ps

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:

Garbage  Household Hazardous Waste Depot Organics Cart
  • Feminine Hygiene Products & Packaging
  • Diapers
  • Condoms
  • Cosmetics
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Dental Floss
  • Paper Towel (bathroom)
  • Waxes
  • Hair
  • Cigarette Butt
  • Hair Dye
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Pharmaceuticals (drugs/medicine)
  • Bleach
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee Grinds
  • Food Scraps
  • Facial Tissue

If you’re ever unsure about how to dispose of something, check out our What Goes Where tool.

How to Put Waste in Its Place

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.

Return unused medications or pharmaceuticals to your local pharmacy.

Household hazardous waste (HHW) like paint, cleaners, stains/varnished, car batteries, motor oil and pesticides/herbicides, can all be taken can be taken to the East Hants Waste Management Centre or one of our annual HHW Events. Do not dump HHW materials down your sink, flush them down your toilet or pour them 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.

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.”