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Responsible Sewer Use

Keeping our sewers free of unnecessary debris and objects is vital to keeping Wood Buffalo a clean and efficient community. 

The following items SHOULD NOT be disposed of by flushing down a toilet.

  • houseplant leaves and clippings
  • silt or mud
  • rags
  • human or animal hair
  • tea bags
  • coffee grounds
  • filters
  • cooking grease or animal grease
  • cigarettes, cigars, butts
  • kitty litter
  • solvents, paint
  • sanitary napkins
  • tampon applicators (plastic)
  • tampon applicators (cardboard)
  • tampons
  • disposable diapers
  • condoms 
  • boxes, packaging, wrappers

The general rule is that if you did not eat it first, you should find another way to dispose of it.

The items above do not biodegrade during time spent in the wastewater collection and treatment systems, and therefore, do not belong in a toilet or the sewer system. They cause blockages in sanitary sewer service connections, mains and pumping stations, causing backups into homes, and unnecessary discharges to the environment. They foul valves and pumps, resulting in thousands of dollars in maintenance and repair costs each year.

This is also the case with homes which use on-site disposal (septic tanks and disposal fields). These items do not quickly biodegrade and therefore take up space and may interfere with the normal operation in the tank. They may also interfere with tank maintenance, and may detrimentally affect the municipal system when/if the sludge is finally disposed of.

A Special Note about Grease

By a large margin, the biggest problem related to people’s sewer lines, and most of the maintenance necessary in our collection system is caused by greases and cooking oils being poured down drains and flushed. Hot oils, even when accompanied by hot water from kitchen taps, quickly cool and attach to service laterals and collection pipes. These decrease the space for the wastewater, and sometimes combine with papers, tissues, and other materials to form blockages.

The added costs due to crews working constantly to keep the mains clear are added to your water bill. Therefore, putting grease or oil down the drain is not appropriate in any circumstance.

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