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Community Services

Posted on: December 31, 2018

Resolve to Defend Your Drains

Water splashing into a stainless steel sink and being flushed down a drain

Just because you can flush it down a drain doesn’t mean you should. This new year, make a resolution to protect our waterways by properly disposing of these common items.

Fats, oils and grease
These culprits come from meats, butters, margarine, lard, food scraps, sauces, salad dressings, dairy products and cooking oil. When you pour these things down your drain (yes, even if you use a garbage disposal!), the grease can harden and cause sewer pipes to clog. These clogs trigger overflows of the sanitary sewer system, forcing raw sewage to back up into your home, lawn, neighborhood and streets.  

  • DON’T: Pour oil, grease or food scraps down the drain—even if you use the garbage disposal!
  • DO: Scrape food scraps into a trash can. Pour/scrape cooled oil and grease into covered containers and throw them away. Wipe greasy pans with a paper towel once they cool, then toss the paper towel in the trash. If you have large quantities of cooking oil from frying, schedule a special collection so we can dispose of it properly.

If you put medicines such as prescription pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medications (antibiotics, antidepressants, vitamins, cough syrup, or pain medications) down the drain or into the toilet, they end in the water supply because water treatment processes can't completely remove them.

  • DON’T: Flush medications down the toilet or sink.
  • DO: Participate in annual medication disposal events, such as Drug Takeback Day (April 27, 2019), Great American Cleanup (May 11, 2019) and Allen Recycles Day (November 2, 2019). If you can’t wait for one of these events, take advantage of local drop-off facilities listed online.

Cleaning Products

While it's okay for small amount of household chemicals to go down the drain – no more than about a cup – large amounts of chemicals should never be disposed of in your drain! Bleach, disinfectants, degreasers, and other household cleaners are difficult to extract from water at the wastewater treatment plants, and they can also be harmful to workers and the environment.

  • DON’T: Dump leftover cleaners down the drain. When cleaning your bathroom, don’t flush paper towels, sponges, or wipes—even the kind marked “flushable.”
  • DO: Schedule a special collection for unwanted household chemicals. Allen recycles these materials and makes them available to our residents free of charge!

Paints, Pool and Lawn Chemicals

Leftover paint, insecticides, herbicides, fertilizer, and other household hazardous wastes can be hazardous, and should never be disposed of through your drains! These chemicals are difficult and expensive to remove from the water and could damage your pipes.

  • DON’T: Wash paint, pool or lawn chemicals down your household drains or storm drains. These items need to be carefully and properly disposed of to maintain a safe and healthy home and environment.
  • DO: Schedule a special collection so Allen can offer your leftover paint and other products to fellow residents free of charge at our HHW reuse centers.

Pet Waste

Pet waste is not only smelly and unsightly, but it is a health risk to pets and people, and creates water quality issues too.

  • DON’T: Leave pet waste on the ground for long periods of time, especially if rain is expected. Unmanaged pet waste drains to local waterways, where it hurts fish and plants.
  • DO: When walking your dog, always carry a plastic baggie to scoop up the waste. Dispose of sealed baggies in the trash. Clean up dog waste in your yard at least once a week, and either flush it down the toilet or dispose of it in the trash.

Learn more about defending your drains.
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