Maintain Your Drain

In order to protect and extend the use life of our city’s sewer and wastewater infrastructure, it is important that customers are mindful of what is sent down drains or flushed down toilets.  Improper disposal of items can lead to sewer backups and sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) or maintenance issues, thereby threatening the reliability of our sanitary sewer system and the health of our community.

Fats, Oils & Grease (FOG)

Every bit of food, fat, oil, and grease that goes down the drain or garbage disposal increases the odds of a sanitary sewer system backup and has a detrimental effect on the wastewater stream. Scraping food, fats, oil, and grease from dishes, pots, and pans into the garbage instead of flushing them down the drain will help keep the wastewater process running smoothly.

Helpful Hints to Avoid Backups:

  • Scrape food residue from plates, pots, and pans before washing
  • Never put eggshells, coffee grounds, or kitty litter down the drain or toilet
  • Use your garbage disposal sparingly
  • Put vegetable and fruit peels in the gray cart
  • Collect excess fats and oils in a sealed container and place in the gray cart
  • Use property recycling centers to dispose of used motor oil

REMEMBER:  Scrape it, don’t grind it! 

FOG Fact Sheet

Drain Do’s & Don’ts

Flushing or throwing damaging materials down the drain can cause blockages and backups.  Follow these simple Do’s and Don’ts to help maintain our sanitary sewer system.

Do’s:

  • DO keep fats, oil and grease out of our sewers – help keep our environment clean.
  • DO capture animal fats in a can and put all food waste and discards in a trash container.
  • DO scrape grease and food scraps from plates, pots and pans, utensils, and grills into the garbage.
  • DO use baskets or strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids.
  • DO take advantage of Fresno County hazardous waste collection opportunities. The County has a HHW facility and occasionally hosts household hazardous waste (HHW) collection events.  More information about HHW disposal can be found on the County of Fresno website or by calling (559) 600-4259.

Don’ts:

  • DON’T flush kitty litter.
  • DON’T put egg shells or coffee grounds in the garbage disposal, sink drain, or toilet.
  • DON’T put motor oil, lard, or cooking oil down the drain.

These items should all be disposed of in the garbage.

Did you Know?     

  • Garbage disposals use large volumes of water and electricity.  Reducing or eliminating their use will lower your sewer, water, and power bills.
  • Chemicals or additives that claim to dissolve grease may not be effective. Grease can still build up in sewers, restricting the flow of wastewater that comes from our homes. This blockage forces wastewater up onto streets, where it then enters the storm drain system.
  • The following products are considered household hazardous chemicals and should NEVER be flushed down the sewer:
    • Pesticides
    • Nail polish
    • Oven cleaners
    • Spot remover
    • Vehicle fuel, oil or grease
    • Fertilizer
    • Rodent poison
    • Weed killer
    • Paint
    • Varnish, stripper or thinners
    • Battery fluids.

These items require disposal at a hazardous waste collection station or event.

The Unflushables

We’ve got some important news about the products you may use on a daily basis:  Just because a product is labeled “flushable” doesn’t mean it should be flushed.

From cotton swabs to feminine products to wet wipes, products labeled “flushable” belong in the trash. Otherwise, they can block our sewer system and cause backups that lead to costly cleanups and repairs.

The ONLY thing that should be flushed down the toilet, besides human waste, is toilet paper!

REMEMBER:  IF IT’S NOT TOILET PAPER, DON’T FLUSH IT!

Unflushable Products:
Products you CANNOT flush:

  • Cotton swabs
  • Dental floss
  • Gloves
  • Rags
  • Cat litter
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Condoms
  • Paper towels
  • Diapers
  • Wipes

These products are commonly flushed down the toilet and wind up in our sewer system. Flushing these so-called “flushable” products can clog pipes, break pumps and cause sanitary sewer overflows — which lead to thousands of dollars in repairs.

Flushable Products:
Products you CAN flush:

  • Toilet paper

By flushing only human waste and toilet paper, you will help to maintain the sanitary sewer system and prevent costly repairs.  It’s that easy!

Get to Know the Unflushables