Every time you flush the toilet, take a shower or wash the dishes, you send wastewater down the drain to the District of Muskoka’s sewer system. This network of underground pipes, through gravity and a series of pumping stations, carries the wastewater to one of the District’s Wastewater Treatment Plants in Muskoka.
Wastewater is what you flush down the toilet and pour down the drain in your home or business. If the wrong items are going into our sewer system, there is a potential for plumbing issues and blockages (also known as “fatbergs”), increased costs and an impact to the environment.
The District is urging residents, property owners and businesses to think before they pour. Only flush the three (3) P’s: pee, poo and toilet paper – never pour fats, oils and grease down the drain.
What is a Fatberg?
Fatbergs are large masses that can form in your home and in Muskoka’s wastewater pipes and pumps. They are made of fats, oils and grease (also known as FOG) that have been improperly disposed of down the drain and have cooled and hardened in the pipes and pumps. When fats, oils and grease combine with things like wipes and feminine products that have been improperly flushed, the fatberg grows into a giant mass.
Fatbergs stick to the sides of pipes and slowly grow, as more waste sticks and hardens to the fatberg. Small amounts of FOG from several households can cause problems, and if left undetected, a fatberg can completely block wastewater flow. This can cause sewer backups into homes or businesses and lead to service disruptions, expensive repairs for property owners and damage to essential District infrastructure our community relies on every day.
The 3 P’s – only flush pee, poo and toilet paper
There is no such thing as a “flushable wipe” and residents should only flush the three Ps – pee, poo and toilet paper. The following items will cause blockages. Don’t flush them, even though they seem small and will go down your toilet or drain.
- No wipes (even those labelled flushable)
- No feminine hygiene products
- No dental floss
- No tissues
- No paper towels
- No medicine/prescriptions
Flushing wipes clogs pipes
Products that say they’re flushable – like wipes – may make it down your toilet, but they might not make it through the sewer. There are currently no regulations to specify which products can be labelled “flushable”.
Clogged pipes can cause:
- raw sewage back-ups into your home and your neighbours home
- raw sewage overflows into neighbourhood yards, parks and streets
- service disruptions, including water outages
- potential contact with disease-causing bacteria
- likely messy and expensive basement clean-ups and or sewer line cleanup, as it may not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy
- increased operational and maintenance costs for the District, which causes higher sewer and water rates for residents
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