The tips below provide advice on what you can do to protect your sewer system from harsh chemicals, and keep pumps and manholes from becoming clogged or damaged by foreign objects. Because most sanitary sewer blockages occur between a house and the sewer main, following these simple tips can also help prevent a sewer line back-up in your home.
• Scrape excess grease into a container and dispose of it in the garbage. If your pots and pans are just oily or greasy, wipe them clean with a paper towel and put the soiled paper towel in the garbage.
• Place food scraps in waste containers or garbage bags for disposal with solid wastes, and scrape off your dishes prior to washing.
• Place a wastebasket in the bathroom to dispose of solid materials and products.
• Use a strainer over the drain hole in your sink, tub, and shower. Empty the collected material into the garbage.
• Compost! If you do not have a compost heap, start one with lawn clippings, garden rubbish, and vegetable food scraps and use the compost to fertilize your garden.
• Use the manufacturer's recommended amount of detergent for washing up in the kitchen or laundry. The average household uses three times more detergent than manufacturers' recommend for washing dishes and clothes. When these detergents enter the sewer system, they hold large amounts of oil, grease, and fats in suspension making cleaning and treating the waste water difficult and more costly. By cutting down on the amount of detergent used, there'll also be less phosphate in the environment to cause the growth of algae in water. And, you'll save money on detergents.
• Pour fats, oils, and grease from cooking down the sink drain.
• Pour paint, engine oil, pesticides or chemicals (PDF) down the sink. Not only because of the threat of these hazards getting into the environment; but also because these chemicals pose a health threat to maintenance staff working in the sewers.
• Place jewelry and valuables on the edge of a basin or sink. Once dropped down a drain or flushed down the toilet, valuable and valued items are very difficult to recover. Also, take care not to drop other items such as dentures, wallets, music players, PDAs, and cell phones into the toilet.
• Flush paper towels, diapers, sanitary napkins, tampons, convenience pads, surgical bandages, syringes, condoms, cigarette butts, razor blades, cotton-tipped swabs, or pantyhose down the toilet. Unlike bathroom tissues, these products do not deteriorate quickly. They can become lodged in portions of your sewer line, causing a sewer back-up. Rather than taking a chance, dispose of these paper products in the garbage.
• Wash food scraps, tea leaves, coffee grounds, potato peels, and eggshells down the sink drain.
• Use the toilet as a wastebasket or garbage can.