City of Penticton reminds residents what not to wash down the sink, as fat clogs local pipes

Greasy pipes through city

There's fat clogging the pipes of a sewer line in Penticton, due to residents washing cooking grease, fats or oils down the drains.

The City of Penticton issued a reminder on Wednesday on how to prevent sewer backups, blockages and potentially costly repairs.

They also shared a photo of a grease buildup within the sewer system, which the crews have to remove each year in order to prevent them from clogging and flooding streets or homes, according to staff at the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).

“When grease is washed down the drain, it hardens and attaches to the walls of the plumbing. Over time, this buildup causes blockages within the sanitary sewers,” WWTP supervisor Joel Mertz said in the news release.

“It can also cause clogs, odours or sewer backups at your home.”

Residents should also be aware that wet wipes advertised as being “flushable” should never be flushed. The city said these wipes do not break down in water and plug pumps or bind with grease within the sewer lines.

"In fact, the only items that should ever be flushed down the toilet are the 3 P’s: pee, poo and toilet paper."

A list of the “unflushables,” which should never be washed down toilets or drains, include:

  • Cooking oils, fats, grease, butter, lard
  • Hygiene products including applicators, tampons or pads
  • “Flushable" wipes, baby wipes
  • Cotton swabs, dental floss
  • Diapers
  • Hair
  • Cosmetics
  • Household hazardous waste, including bleach, paint, pesticides, cleaning products, etc.
  • Medications

To prevent future problems, the city recommends for small amounts of grease to be poured into a container, such as a tin, and discarded into the garbage.

Grease from pots and pans can also be wiped out with a paper towel before placing them in the sink or dishwasher.

Medications and pharmaceuticals can be returned to pharmacies to be disposed of properly.

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