Posted on: February 8, 2018

Don't rush; think before you flush

With the cost to remove clogs from sewer pipes hitting more than $60,000 each year, residents of Westbank First Nation, West Kelowna, and Peachland are encouraged to consider the impacts of flushing certain products down drains.

Residents recently received an information card from the Regional District’s Westside Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant urging residents, "Don’t rush, think before you flush."

Every day, the plant treats an average of ten million litres of wastewater. Pausing before flushing or pouring something down the drain will help protect the integrity of the plant’s biological treatment process. It’ll also help prevent costly clogs and backups of pipes flowing from homes and businesses into the hundreds of kilometers of sewer collection mains throughout the Westside communities.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, "think of the treatment plant as the heart with hundreds of kilometers of sewer pipes acting like the arteries of your body, filled with liquid that should never be flushed or put down drains. Food waste like fats, grease and oils (deep fryer oil, vegetable oil, cooking oil) can easily congeal and block pipes. As well, diapers, wet wipes, bandages, personal hygiene products and cotton swabs should be placed into the household garbage. And hazardous waste materials like paints, solvents and other chemicals should be disposed of at the free household hazardous waste drop off at the Battery Doctors in Kelowna.”

“Unlike toilet paper,” Smith says, “wet wipes, even those labeled flushable, don’t easily break down and, once flushed, can cause sewage and septic overflows into homes, businesses and the environment. Our goal with this information program for Westside residents is to think about what they’re flushing or putting down the drain. There are proper disposal options for many of these materials. For example, unused or expired medications and prescription drugs should be returned to a pharmacy and residents can visit for more information.”

Collected kitchen cooking oils, fats, grease and lards can be placed into a container and put into the trash, or taken for disposal in receptacles at the Westside Regional Waste Disposal and Recycling Centre in West Kelowna or the Glenmore landfill, to be recycled in a program with McLeod’s Byproducts of Armstrong.

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