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As society uses more convenient, disposable products, the City's Drainage Services is dealing with sewer clogs caused by items that were never meant to be disposed of in the sewer system.

Some of the items being discovered in sewers are listed below. Drainage Services calls these items “unflushables.” Even those items that claim to be flushable on the packaging usually aren’t. Unflushables cause sewer and pump blockages resulting in backups that can be costly for homeowners and the City.

The City is asking residents to “Trash it, don’t splash it.”

 Trash it don't splash it toilet logo

Flushable

  • Human waste (urine, feces, vomit)
  • Toilet paper

Unflushable

  • Rags
  • Disposable wipes
  • Diapers
  • Feminine products (including tampons)
  • Hair
  • Condoms
  • Dental floss
  • Batteries
  • Needles

*See Drainage Bylaw Schedule A and B for a list of prohibited and restricted wastes.

Facts About Sewers and Pumps

Sewer pumps are part of the drainage system and help move sewage through the pipes over long distances and up hills (when gravity cannot be used).

Edmonton has 62 sanitary pumps and 17 storm water pumps.

Edmonton's sanitary sewer pump stations clog up with grease and other debris an average of 20 times a year.

An estimated $700,000 in staff time is spent on cleaning clogged pumps. It takes a three-person crew from Drainage Services about a half-day to clean a pump and the cost of a new pump is anywhere from $10,000 to $120,000 depending on the size.

Trash It, Don't Splash it!

Items like rags, wipes, diapers, feminine products (including tampons), hair and condoms should be placed in the household garbage.

Needles and products like paint thinner and batteries should be taken to one of the City’s Eco stations (these items can be disposed of free of charge). Needles should be kept in a sharps container (a plastic bottle with a screw top). Any leftover or unused medications should be taken to the local pharmacy for proper disposal.

Fats, oils, and grease should be saved in a can and disposed of in the kitchen garbage with left over or expired food.

For More Information

Drainage Infrastructure

General Information

Telephone

311 

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