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What not to flush or drain into your sewer

Inappropriate items flushed down the toilet or poured out in a sink or shower could create plumbing issues for your home’s sewer system. As well, it can impact City’s utility costs as a result of increased maintenance or additional work to clean the wastewater at the treatment plant. The same goes with what you pour into your neighbourhood catch basins have an environmental impact. With a little bit of effort, you can correctly dispose material and help protect the environment.

Think before you flush.

Only flush the 3Ps – pee, poo, paper (that’s toilet paper). Even products marketed as ‘flushable’ can harm the sewer system. Flushing anything else can damage your home’s sewer system and result in costly repairs.

It can also damage the City’s domestic sewer system by clogging pipes with materials that don’t belong and as a result, City crews have to clean the system more frequently than industry standards.

Put these items in the garbage:

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Condoms
  • Wipes marked flushable – baby, facial, hand
  • Cleaning rags
  • Hair
  • Cotton swabs/cotton balls
  • Paper towels, facial tissues
  • Dental floss
  • Household hazardous waste


Think before you drain.

Draining bacon fat or grease from ground beef into your kitchen sink – even with hot water – can cause a blockage in your sewer system. The same with oils and fats – such as lard, butter, salad dressing, or milk.

When the warm fats, oils or grease are poured down the drain, they cool, harden and stick on the inside of the sewer pipe. This material will build up over time and could block the whole pipe, causing a sewage back up in your home or your neighbours.

Instead, pour or scrape the material it into a container, like a disposable cup, and place it in the garbage. Remember to recycle the empty containers into your blue cart.

Clear your catch basins.

Never pour anything down a catch basin. This helps keep the environment and downstream waters safe.

It’s also important to keep your catch basins free from leaves, twigs and debris. When warmer weather begins in spring, melting snow and ice causes water to pool on the streets. If you are able to safely chip the ice away, it would be a big help as crews cannot clear all 20,000 catch basins in our community.  Locate catch basins close to you.