Protect Your Pipes

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The Protect Your Pipes initiative is funded by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Community Engagement Campaign (CEC), a collaboration between our region’s dedicated water and wastewater utilities, in an effort to protect wastewater infrastructure and preserve the health of our rivers. These members have joined together to promote the value and safety of our region’s water, preserve the health of our source water systems, including the Potomac River, and educate the citizens of our region on the importance of the proper disposal of wipes, grease, and medication. Please view the Protect Your Pipes Video to see how to protect your home's pipes as well as help reduce unwanted materials from entering and damaging community wastewater infrastructure.

Protect Your Pipe Cartoon Characters


Meet our three clogging criminals:

Expired Medication Character

Name: Unwanted Medications

Wanted for: Contaminating waterways in the 1st Degree & Accidental Poisoning in the 3rd Degree

Known Aliases/Accomplices:

Controlled and non-controlled medication, expired medication, pills of all sorts

Wipes Character

Name:Wet wipes and related products

Wanted for: Conspiracy to Clog in the 1st Degree & Voluntary Toilet Trouble

Known aliases/accomplices: 

Facial tissues and household cleaning wipes, cotton balls, Q-tips, dental floss, non-flushable paper towels, feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads)

FOG Character

Name: Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG)

Wanted for: Conspiracy to Clog in the 1st Degree & Aggravated Sink Stink

Known aliases/accomplices:

All compostable food waste, cleaning agents, hazardous materials

Find Nearest Location for Proper Drug Disposal:

Never Flush


  • Hair
  • Clothing
  • Wash cloths, towels, rags (any cloth item)
  • Diapers - cloth, disposable, flushable
  • Facial tissues
  • Cosmetics, lotions, and moisturizers
  • Baby wipes, disinfectant wipes, moist wipes, etc.
  • Toilet bowl scrub pads, cotton balls, and swabs
  • Cigarette butts and chewing gum
  • Paper napkins, paper towels
  • Egg shells, nutshells, and coffee grounds
  • Fats, oils, and greases
  • Food items containing seeds and peelings
  • Sanitary napkins, tampons, condoms, or any non-organic materials
  • Vitamins, medicines, or other pharmaceuticals (PDF)
  • Sheet plastic or plastic of any kind
  • Cat litter

See what happens when the wrong items are flushed:

View a laboratory setup showing the breakdown of supposedly "flushable" materials after they are flushed: Will It Flush? Video