Flushing Products Other Than Toilet Paper Can Cause Big Problems Down the Line

Flushing Products Other Than Toilet Paper Can Cause Big Problems Down the Line


 There is no time like the present to have a “Flushing 101” review. Whether you live in a rural area and have your own personal onsite wastewater system or your house is hooked up to a municipal wastewater system, everyone needs to be conscious of what we flush down the toilet. Regardless of what type of wastewater system your home is hooked up to, minimizing solids in our wastewater will improve the overall system performance.

Your toilet is not a garbage disposal and while the end point of flushing is like a “black hole,” it is not a case of out of sight, out of mind. The end result of flushing anything and everything down your toilet will put your septic system or municipal wastewater treatment system at a higher risk for damage.

Minimizing solids in the wastewater will improve system performance. Solids add to the sludge and scum layers in the septic tank or lagoon, making it necessary to have a septic tank pumped/lagoons dredged more often. Solids also add to the organic load in the system. Too much organic matter can produce an unbalanced system, resulting in inadequate treatment. Problems can include clogged pipes, clogged filter screens, or a clogged and/or saturated drain field.

A good rule-of-thumb is that biological material (human excrement) and toilet paper should be the only things flushed into the system as much as possible. If you use a thicker, plusher toilet paper brand please use it conservatively because these types of toilet paper tend to not break down as quickly as the thinner varieties do.

Here’s a list of things you should NEVER flush down the toilet because they do not biodegrade/break down easily or quickly, and will cause costly problems within a wastewater system and potential environmental contamination as well:

• Paper towels, napkins or facial tissue

• Wet wipes, even if they say flushable

• Feminine hygiene items, even if they say flushable

• Diapers, baby or adult

• Cotton balls/pads/swabs

• Dental floss

• Hair

• Kitchen grease and food

• Cigarette butts

• Medications

By following the rules of Flushing 101, you will save yourself or your municipal wastewater system costly maintenance, repairs and headaches.

This article was reviewed by Bruce Dvorak and Katie Pekarek

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