Utility companies across Canada have seen an increase in the number of items flushed down toilets since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Utilities Kingston is no exception.
Discarded items such as masks, gloves and sanitary wipes freeze with fats, oils and greases (FOG) – which are often mistakenly dumped into sewers – creating expensive clogs in both residences and systems collection and treatment of wastewater, Utilities Kingston told a news outlet. Residents are using more wet wipes due to the pandemic, and Utilities Kingston is warning that rinsing the wipes can create an expensive and messy sewer back-up in the home.
Despite the higher demand for disinfectants and baby wipes, local wastewater treatment operators observed only a small local increase in rinsed wipes – and they saw no increase in rinsed masks and gloves in the industry. wastewater treatment system, the statement said.
“Many residents are doing the right thing by keeping wipes, fats, oils and grease out of their toilets and sewers, and we thank you for that,” said Heather Roberts, Director of Water and used waters. “Nonetheless, we want everyone to know that when you flush the toilet other than toilet paper, you put your home, the wastewater collection system, the treatment facilities and the health of our operators at risk. . ”
Kingston Utilities reminds residents to never rinse off wipes, vintage products, grease, oils or grease, and has provided the following tips.
Understand the problem:
- Throughout the pandemic, the demand for disinfectant wipes, baby wipes and toilet paper has increased.
- Toilet paper is designed to break down and dissolve. All other paper products are made of strong non-woven fibers that will not break down. These have costly impacts on homes, sanitation systems and the environment.
- Unlike toilet paper, wipes do not break down easily when rinsed off, even those labeled “throw away.”
- Rinsed wipes can also combine with FOGs to create a large mass of solid waste in the sewer system.
- Once rinsed, the wipes can clog sewer lines, pumps and pipes, causing sewage to overflow into homes and the environment. These plugs can damage equipment, cost taxpayers millions and compromise the safety of wastewater treatment operators.
Know your three Ps: Only flush the toilet of pee, poo, and (toilet) paper.
Residents are urged to remember that the washrooms are not garbage cans or recycling boxes. Utilities Kingston shared the dos and don’ts of properly disposing of some of the items that cannot be treated in the sewer system:
- Wipes of All Kinds – Sanitizing, baby and hand wipes go in the trash, even if the packaging claims they are disposable in the hunt (they are not).
- Fats, oils and greases – Wipe up greasy pans with a paper towel and put it in the green bin. Dispose of the solidified fats and fats in a 100% paper cup in your green bin (but watch out for leaks). Dispose of cooking oil in a screw-type container in your garbage.
- Menstrual products – These go in the trash, along with the associated applicators and plastic wrappers, even if the wrapper claims they are disposable. Or consider a reusable menstrual cup and help cut down on single-use plastics at the same time.
- Larger Food Particles – Use a colander in your sink to collect leftover food and other solids. These go to your green bin.
Cooking oil, butter and margarine, meat fats, dressings, sauces and gravies are all types of FOG. When poured down a sewer or flushed down the toilet, they solidify and accumulate inside plumbing pipes, creating a risk of sewer backing up into your home, the statement said.
Other hoof offenders that should never be rinsed include paper towels, rags, dental floss, and hypodermic needles. Hypodermic needles are particularly problematic because they create a hazard to sewage personnel.
To learn how to properly dispose of these items and more, use the Waste sorting research tool.
Learn how to protect your home and your health by knowing what not to rinse. Visit www.utilitieskingston.com/KnowWhatToFlush.