Healthy Sewers Initiative
When rinsed down the drain or flushed down a toilet, fats, oils, and grease (FOG); prescription and over-the-counter medications; personal hygiene products; and household hazardous waste can wreak havoc on the sewer system.
Overflowing sewers are often caused by blockages resulting from FOG in the pipelines, causing damage to homes and businesses and negatively impacting public health.
Wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to remove or destroy all chemicals present in prescription or over-the-counter medications. These chemicals in wastewater may contaminate surface water, negatively impacting the environment and wildlife.
Take these simple steps to help us maintain a healthy sewer, ensuring the safety of our communities and environment.
DON’T BE A PAIN IN THE DRAIN
Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG)
To properly dispose of FOG products, mix them with absorbent waste materials like paper towels, coffee grounds, or kitty litter and place it in the trash. Also, make sure to wipe food scraps from plates and pans and dump them in the trash rather than your garbage disposal.
Personal Hygiene Products
Throw flushable wipes, cotton pads and swabs, and other personal hygiene products into the trash can. While “flushable” wipes infer that they can be flushed down the toilet, these wipes and other personal hygiene products get hung up on pumps and in pipes which cause major blockage in sewer systems.
Disposing of your hazardous materials such as household chemicals, cleaning paint, cement, stucco, and pool grout down a drain will not only impact your sewer pipes but also EMWD’s ability to provide safe and reliable wastewater service. Please clean tools properly and take all household hazardous waste to a collection facility or collection event.
You may contact Riverside County Department of Waste Resources — Household Hazardous Waste at (800) 304-2226 or at www.rcwaste.org/hhw for more information.
DON’T RUSH TO FLUSH MEDICATIONS
Dispose of unused medications using a pharmaceutical or homemade drug disposal pouch.
EMWD recommends that customers adhere to Riverside County Department of Waste Resources’ guidelines for the proper disposal of medications, which can be found online at rcwaste.org/WasteGuide/Medication.
Customers may also use a commercial drug disposal pouch similar to the Deterra Drug Deactivation System. The Deterra Drug Deactivation System is an environmentally friendly, cost-effective product that safely deactivates unused pill, liquid, or patch medications. Learn more at deterrasystem.com.
The U.S Food and Drug Administration also provides steps to making your own at-home drug disposal pouch. Without crushing tablets or capsules, simply mix your medications with dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds; place the mixture in a sealable zip-top plastic bag; and throw the sealed bag away in your household trash.
Return unused medications to a pharmacy
Contact your local pharmacy to see how and where you can return unused pill, liquid, or patch medications.
Implementing these simple steps and having your sewer pipes inspected and cleaned periodically to eliminate harmful debris will ensure a healthy sewer system and a safe environment for our communities.