Doing your Part in Keeping Our Sewer and Water Resources Safe
What to Flush
The toilet is only meant to flush the three P's - Pee, Poop and Paper. Human waste and toilet paper should be the only thing going down the toilet. We should avoid flushing substances or objects that could plug a line or cause backups, and additionally avoid sending large amount of food waste through the disposal. Any of these things could create problems if they enter the sewer system. There are some items that might be labeled as flushable (wet wipes) or have similar properties to toilet paper (facial tissue) that should not be flushed. View the video below explaining why these shouldn’t be flushed.
Where Does It Go and What Shouldn’t Be Flushed
Ever wonder where it goes? Down the toilet or the drain isn't the end of the line. When you flush the water and unmentionables they go somewhere. That somewhere is the Blackfoot Wastewater Treatment Plant. Some things should never be flushed or sent down the drain because they cause problems with our ability to treat waste, or pass through into the environment. Click here for a chart of familiar chemicals and how to dispose of them. Do not use your toilet as a trash can!Things that should never be flushed or drained include:
- Paints and Solvents
- Gasoline or Combustible Fuels
- Toxic Chemicals
- Medicines and Pharmaceuticals
- Fats, Oils, and Greases
- Baby Wipes, Cleaning Wipes, and Wet Wipes
- Needles and Razor Blades
- Pesticides, Herbicides, and Fertilizers
- Poisons including Rat/Mice Bait
Fats, Oils And Grease (FOG)
Grease in sewer pipes causes sewer problems for property owners and the city. Never pour grease in your sink drain and try to use your garbage disposal less. Grease is a byproduct of cooking. It comes from meat, lard, oil, shortening, butter, margarine, food scraps, baking goods, sauces and dairy products. When grease washes down the sink, it sticks to the insides of the pipes that connect your home or business to the town ‘s sewer. It also coats the insides of the town’s sewer pipes.
Eventually, the grease can build up until it completely blocks sewer pipes. That can create difficult and expensive maintenance problems for both the town and private property owners.
Blocked sewer pipes can cause raw sewage to back up into your home or business, or overflow into streets and streams.
Garbage disposals don’t keep grease out of sewer pipes. Products that claim to dissolve grease may dislodge a blockage, but will only cause problems farther on down the line when the grease hardens again. What you can do to help:
- Never pour grease down a drain or into a toilet.
- Put baskets/strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids and empty them into the trash can.
- Scrape grease and food scraps into a trash can and avoid sending them down the drain or through the food disposal.
Help Keep Our Drains Drug-Free
In the current day and age, medications are prevalent and varied. While trace amounts can pass through the human body, there are thousands of pounds of unused or expired medications in the USA that need disposed of every year. In the past some may have recommended to flush these medications down the drain. Analysis has shown the presence of compounds and drugs from these sources in streams and lakes. While there is no current evidence that these trace chemicals pose a risk to human health, scientists have found some interference with aquatic organisms. It is, therefore, prudent to control what ends up in the water environment.
Please do not flush medications down the toilet! In Blackfoot there are three locations for you to drop off your drugs and medications: City Hall, the Fire Department, and the Courthouse. These containers are around the size of a post office drop off box, and they are white and blue. If you have any questions regarding our local drop off boxes contact Leslie Davis at 785-1235. For more information regarding disposal of drugs and medication click here.
Facility Tours and Presentations
Still interested in learning more about wastewater and water as a resource? The department has two options for interactive learning.
You can schedule a River Rangers presentation. This presentation was created to educate elementary school children about water as a vital resource and how to be a good steward of water. For over two decades we have presented this information to each third grader in Blackfoot School District 55. This presentation can be modified to educate older children and even adults. It is never too late to learn new things.
If you or your group would like to see first hand how we treat wastewater, the equipment we use, and how our laboratory functions, we also give tours of our facility!
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|After School Program|
|Curious Business Owners|
For more information on tours and presentations, please e-mail Bdonovan@CityofBlackfoot.org.