What Not to Throw Down the Drain

Don't Put These Down the Drain

  • Fats, Oils, and Greases (FOG)
  • Disposable Wipes / Rags
  • Paints and Solvents
  • Gasoline or Combustible Fuels
  • Toxic Chemicals
  • Antifreeze
  • Medicines and Pharmaceuticals
  • Baby Wipes / Rags
  • Needles and Razor Blades
  • Pesticides, Herbicides, and Fertilizers
  • Poisons including Rat / Mice Bait
  • Gloves, condoms, underclothes, elastics, plastic bags, wrappers, bottles, cotton-tips, cotton balls, tampons, cigarette filters, toys, cans, sticks, pebbles, sand, cat litter, stockings

Also note that sending large amounts of food waste through the disposal system into the sewer collection system could plug a line and cause backups.

Fats, Oils, & Grease (FOG)

FOG usually enters wastewater when washing pots, pans, and dishes because the hot water and detergents liquefy FOG. Cooler temperatures and reduced turbulence in sewer pipes allow liquefied FOG to harden, accumulate and clog sewers.

Wipes, rags and other rubbish don't break down in the wastewater and might get caught up in the sewer lines. Both FOG and rags may create bottlenecks in the sewers and eventually block them, which can cause sewer overflows and backups.

Overflows and backups are messy and unhealthy and thousands of gallons of wastewater may overflow into local waterways or backup into home basements. FOG and rags also cause pump stations to malfunction which might cause sewer overflows and backups.

There a few easy steps that you can take:

  • Never pour kitchen greases or oils down the drain - even if you think you are washing it down with hot water.
  • Pour cooled grease into a can and throw it in the trash.
  • Scrape grease and food scraps into the trash can.
  • Put baskets / strainers in sinks to catch food scraps. Toss scraps on a compost heap, or into the trash.
  • Pretty much all other solids except for human wastes and toilet tissue should be thrown in the trash can and not in the toilet.

For further information please contact the Department of Public Works (DPW) at 781-455-7550.