In the pipeline - DIY Plumbing Tip #8 -What not to put down the drain

March 21 2014

. We often don’t think about the harm we are doing when we wash all sorts of bits & bobs  down our kitchen sinks, bath and shower drains, and even what we flush down our toilets. The cost to the enviroment, the water authorities and the blocked drains Melbourne and the financial cost.

Whats commonly flushed down the sink

  • Meat fats
  • Lard
  • Coffee grinds
  • Tea
  • Cooking oil
  • Shortening
  • Butter and margarine
  • Food scraps
  • Baking goods
  • Sauces
  • Dairy products
  • Fats, oils and greases can not only block pipes, but are terrible for sewage systems. According to the 3 water Authorities in Melbourne,, sewer overflows and backups can cause health hazards, damage homes & interiors, and threaten the environment. A common cause of overflows in blocked drains in Melbourne  are sewer pipes blocked by grease resulting in raw sewage overflowing in your home or your neighbor’s home Costly and unpleasent cleanups are the result of these blocked drains. Potential contact with disease-causing organisms and an increase in  maintenance costs for local sewer authorities leads to  higher sewer bills for customers

Where does the grease that causes sewer overflows come from? Much of it from the kitchen sink.

Grease sticks to the insides of sewer pipes (both on your property and in the streets). Over time, the grease can build up and block the entire pipe. Home garbage disposals do not keep grease out of the plumbing system and  only shred solid material into smaller pieces and do not prevent grease from going down the drain. Commercial additives, including detergents, that claim to dissolve grease may pass grease down the line and cause problems in other areas.

 Tips to stop pipe blockage and sewer overflows:

• Never pour grease down sink drains or into toilets.

• Scrape grease and food scraps from trays, plates, pots, pans, utensils, and grills and cooking surfaces into the compost or bin

• Do not put grease down waste disposal units  Put baskets/strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids, and empty the drain baskets/strainers into the bin

• Speak with your friends and neighbors about the problem

Other things to never wash down your drain:

  • Fats, oils or grease from cars or lawnmowers
  • Coffee grinds
  • Egg shells
  • Produce stickers
  • Chunks of garbage
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Paper towels
  • Flushable cat litter
  • Rags
  • Baby wipes
  • Condoms
  • Motor oil, transmission fluids, anti-freeze or other toxic chemicals
  • Solvents, paints, turpentine, nail polish, polish remover
  • Flammable or explosive substances
  • Corrosive substances that are either acidic or caustic
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications

Read more: 

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  3. City West Water - Home
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