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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.


Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG)

To properly dispose of FOG products, let the FOG cool and then place it into your organic waste bin, where it may be properly disposed of. Also, make sure to wipe food scraps from plates and pans and dump them in the compost or organic waste bin, 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.

Hazardous Waste

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 for more information.

Learn more about protecting your community sewers: English  Español 


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

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

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.