Sewer system clogs can be prevented, and you can help! Sewage backups occur due to the buildup of materials that should not be washed into your drain or flushed down your toilet.
Fats, oils and grease (FOG) cannot easily flow through sewer pipes. These common kitchen wastes cling to the inside of pipes and build up over time, thereby reducing the area inside the pipes through which waste flows. This buildup creates a sticky, rough surface such that other waste flowing through the pipes get caught, further reducing the flow volume through the pipes. The results can be costly for property owners if the buildup is within a private system, requiring you to pay a plumber to clear the lines. Add rags into the mix and you have FROG! While surprisingly common, cloth material should never be flushed down a toilet.
It is also costly for the City if FROG deposits occur within the sewage main lines running below the streets. Negative effects include blocked pipes which can cause sanitary sewer overflows (SSO) pouring from manholes in the roadways. This unsanitary condition subjects the general public to unhealthy and unsafe conditions. Further expenses include requiring additional maintenance and repairs on the City's twelve sewage pumping stations. This is not an efficient use of City funds and manpower.
TIPS TO KNOW:
Only human waste and toilet paper should ever be flushed down a toilet. "Flushable" wipes, tissue and paper towels are not safe for the sewage system.
Cooking fats, oils and grease must be poured into an appropriate container, allowed to cool, and then be thrown into the trash. Trickling FOG down the drain with hot water only allows deposits to accumulate further down the line once it cools.
Pots, pans and dishes must be wiped of grease before rinsing in the sink.