LEFT: Cleaning grease out of the sanitary sewer. RIGHT: Paper towels and other materials captured in sanitary sewer.
Everything flushed down the toilet or put down the drain enters Prince George's sanitary sewer system. Some substances can damage sewer infrastructure, pose a risk to public health and safety, or hurt the environment.
Many household items like wipes, paper towels, diapers, and hygiene products can cause build-up and blockages in pipes and pumps. Even items promoted as "flushable" do not always break down in the sanitary sewer system. Blockages damage pipes and treatment systems and cause sewage backups.
Prevent public health and environmental hazards by not flushing the following items down toilets:
- Cooking fats, oil, and grease
- Food waste
- Coffee grounds
- Plastic wrappers
- Produce stickers
- Baby wipes
- "Flushable" wipes
- Facial tissue
- Paper towels
- Disposable duster cloth
- Feminine hygiene products
- Bandages and wrappers
- Condoms and wrappers
- Cotton balls and cotton swabs
- Dental floss
- Nail polish
- Needles and sharps
- Cigarette butts
- Household cleaning products
- Motor oil, gasoline, and diesel
- Paints and solvents
- Pesticides and garden products
- Cat litter
Place a garbage can in bathrooms and remember the only things that should be flushed are human waste and toilet paper.
For more information
Fats, Oil, and Grease (FOG)
Fats, cooking oil, and grease are major contributors of sewer blockages. These substances will solidify and build up inside sanitary sewer pipes and even small amounts of "FOG" over time can cause costly and hazardous sewer backups.
Do not put the following down drains:
- Meat and bacon drippings
- Cooking oil
- Butter and margarine
- Shortening and lard
- Sauces and gravy
- Salad dressings
- Sandwich spreads
- Liquid dairy products like milk and cream
Routine grease removal from the sanitary sewer system costs the City $170,000 every year. Even with routine maintenance, blockages caused by FOG and other substances/materials cost the City an extra $250,000 per year.
Preventing FOG Build-Up at Home
- Carefully pour used cooking grease into empty containers. After the grease cools, dispose of containers in the garbage.
- Wipe pots, pans, and dishes with paper towels to soak up excess grease and throw away in the garbage.
- Put strainers in the sink to catch food scraps.
- Minimize garbage disposal use. Place food scraps and other organic materials in the compost bin or garbage cart.
Preventing FOG Build-Up at Work
- Under the BC Plumbing Code, operations that serve or prepare food (like restaurants) must install grease interceptors. All fixtures or drains that release waste water containing FOG must be plumbed to an interceptor.
- Grease interceptors must be routinely inspected, cleaned out, and maintained to make sure they work well.
For more information:
Hazardous Waste Disposal
Never flush hazardous items down drains. Substances like paint and pesticides that enter the sewer system pose a major threat to public health, sewer infrastructure, and are toxic to the environment. Other waste materials that must never be flushed include:
- Primers, stains, solvents, and glue.
- Motor oil, gasoline, transmission fluid, antifreeze, and windshield fluid.
- Household cleaning products like bleach and drain cleaners.
- Personal care products like nail polish remover.
Aim to replace hazardous products with safer alternatives.
For more information about accepted wastes and safe recycling/disposal options:
Medications Return Program
Many medications and supplements cannot be treated and removed at the City's Wastewater Treatment Centre. Return unused or expired medication to local pharmacies for safe disposal under the BC Medications Return Program. This program covers all prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. Also included are:
- Topical antibiotic and antifungal creams.
- Orally-ingested natural health products like vitamins and minerals.
- Traditional Chinese medicines.
- Herbal products.
- Amino acids and homeopathic medicines.
For more information: