We all can make a difference by making sure that toilets are used as toilets – not trash cans.
What Not to Flush
Please read this list of items that must not be flushed. Flushing other materials can cause messy blockages and some materials can go right through the wastewater treatment facility and enter the local streams. Please dispose of items properly.
Remember the following catch phrase to keep flushable and disposable materials out of the sewer system. The three “Ps” – pee, poop and paper (toilet paper) – is all that should be flushed down the toilet. Nothing else goes in there.
Flushable wipes and other similar not-so-flushable products are causing problems for waste treatment plants. If the product does not specify that it is flushable, don’t.
Toilets are not garbage cans. This material should be going into the garbage can.
Among the other items frequently found stuck in sewers are condoms, feminine hygiene products, dental floss, cotton swabs, bandages, medicines, kitty litter — even food wastes and paint. These items were never intended to be disposed of by flushing.
Toilet systems were only intended to accommodate toilet paper and human waste. When the material gets into our treatment plant it gets tangled up in the screens. The plant has to stop the process, and operators have to remove the rags by hand. It takes time and takes people away from their assigned responsibilities. It is also a health and safety concern.
One North Carolina city attributed a 21,000-gallon New Year’s 2014 sewage spill to both grease and wipes in the system. In London, Kansas, a 15-ton, “bus-sized lump” consisting of grease and flushable wipes was discovered in the system.
Over the years, grease has created blockages in the sewer lines that result in sewer backups and overflows. Sewer backups and overflows cause residential property damage, environmental contamination, health hazards and expensive collection system repairs.
To minimize grease in the collection system, grease traps are required to be installed as integral parts of a food establishment’s waste water system. All establishments serving food including bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, nursing homes, schools, churches, grocery stores, and hospitals are included. The Wisconsin Plumbing Code SPS 382 requires that all nonresidential establishments who prepare food must have a grease interceptor. Also, car washes, automotive repair shops, and industrial facilities are required to have a grease and oil interceptor in place. NR 211.10(c) State law prohibits “Solids or viscous pollutants in amounts which will cause or contribute to obstruction of the flow in sewers or other interference with the operations of the POTW.”
Their waste water passes down drainpipes that lead to the grease trap. The grease trap’s job is to slow the flow of water and allow it to cool inside the grease trap. As the water cools in the grease trap, fats and oils, being lighter than water, float to the top. The water flows through the outlet baffle and fats and oils are “trapped” inside the grease trap.
Maintain a Clean Grease Trap!
It is required under City Ordinance that all grease traps be pumped, “cleaned,” on a regular basis to ensure proper functioning. This will limit the amount of grease entering the sanitary sewer collection system. Poorly maintained grease traps allow grease to escape from the trap, and become hard and cling to the interior of the drain and sewer pipes. Over time, this build-up of fats and oils will cause clogs in sewer lines. These clogs could cause sewer back-ups into residential homes and manholes. Back-ups in manholes will cause overflows into the street and nearby storm drains.
This can be very costly to you if the blockage is caused by grease emanating from your establishment. The city may have YOU pay to have the problem remedied.
Be sure that when you have your trap serviced that the sample manhole is also serviced. Grease build-up in drains and sewer pipes can be very costly for any facility to fix.
For questions concerning grease trap inspections, call the City of Fennimore Waste Water Department at 608-822-6718.