Over the past two weeks, City of London staff have recognized an increase in plastics and food waste in London’s wastewater treatment facilities. Excessive amounts of plastics or food waste can plug up filters and other wastewater treatment technologies reducing the overall effectiveness of wastewater treatment plants.
“It is important to put waste in the right place, and that only water goes down the drain,” says Scott Mathers, Director of Water and Wastewater at the City of London. “Flushing the wrong things down your toilet or sink can not only damage a home’s sewer pipes, it can interfere with wastewater treatment and harm our river.”
The holiday season can put increased demand on City of London water treatment facilities. Many Londoners are cooking holiday meals and are hosting family and friends, and with this comes a lot of wastewater. There are a number of simple actions Londoners can take to keep their pipes clear, and to help make our river healthier this winter.
Tips for residents:
1. Pick up a free FOG cup
Remember this winter that fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from the kitchen don't belong down the drain. Sewers can become blocked and basements can flood when this FOG hardens. Pick up a free FOG cup at EnviroDepots and London Public Library locations, and help put waste in the right place.
2. Toilets are not garbage cans
Flushing the wrong things down your toilet can block sewer pipes. Wet wipes should stay out of the toilet as they can cause sewer backups, and overflows. It’s also extremely important to keep medicines and household wastes out of the toilet.
3. Avoid using food waste grinders
Food waste grinders can cause blockages in sewer pipes and pumping stations because they increase food particles and grease. They can also block the line that leads from your house, causing sewage to backup into your home.
Tips for businesses:
1. Check grease interceptors often, and clean often
Cleaning food wastes and oil out of grease interceptors is required on a regular basis. Avoid using degreasers, emulsifiers or hot water to dissolve grease.
2. Scrape food scraps and grease into the garbage
Major sources of grease are baking goods, lard, food scraps, cooking oil, shortening, butter, creamy sauces, dairy products (i.e. milkshakes), meat fats, batter and gravy. When cleaning the grease interceptor, don’t flush it down a drain. Scoop out the solidified grease and place in the garbage for disposal.
3. Recycle used cooking oil
Used cooking oil can be recycled. Storage bins can be rented from cooking oil recyclers usually at no cost.
4. These actions save businesses money
It is very expensive to repair sewers and pipes after a grease blockage in a business. Remembering these tips, and training your staff on how to dispose of grease and food waste can help keep your business’ pipes clear.