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The Do’s and Don’ts of Your Sewage/Wastewater System

Water not only comes into our homes – water also goes out. While a lot of attention is paid to how we use – or do not use – our water, very little attention is paid to the water that leaves our home – our sewage or wastewater. Sewage, or wastewater, runs out of the drains of our sinks and our bathtubs or showers, out of our dishwashers and clothes washers and is flushed down our toilets.

Can I put any liquid down the drain?
Many liquids can be poured down your drain, but others cannot. Some liquids can clog your sink pipes and possibly lead to more serious blockages down in the main sewage line. Fats, oil and grease, known as FOG, build up on the pipes and create most of the blockages in sewer/wastewater collection systems. Therefore, these should be disposed of in the trash. Sewer/wastewater blockages are serious and can cause spills, manhole overflows and backups into homes.

Every house should have a backflow valve to prevent sewage/wastewater from flowing back into the house due to a blockage. Also paint, varnish, thinner and solvents should not be disposed of down the drain.

Can I flush anything I want as long as it does not clog my toilet?

Not all flushable products are actually flushable as they do not fully dissolve. Over time, this can result in a blockage. Besides human waste, toilet paper is the only thing recommended to be flushed. Pharmaceuticals should not be flushed since it is extremely difficult for even the most modern wastewater treatment facilities to remove trace elements of many pharmaceutical drugs.

Can I put whatever I want down my cleanout pipe?

The purpose of your cleanout pipe is to gain access to your sewer/wastewater pipes in order to clear blockages – it should not be used for dumping anything – solids or liquids. There have been cases of leftover liquid plaster from the construction of swimming pools or spas being poured into the cleanout pipe. This liquid hardens as it travels through the sewer/wastewater pipes and the resulting solid blocks of material create serious sewage/wastewater spills and manhole overflows. Homeowners can be held financially responsible for the damage resulting from a blockage caused by using the cleanout as a disposal.

Crescenta Valley Water District (CVWD) sewer/wastewater system was installed in the 1980s; is it still in good condition and, therefore, not in need of maintenance?

All sewer systems require regular maintenance. The District must continually check and clean its over 70 miles of sewer or wastewater pipelines to prevent serious blockages and sewer overflows. During routine maintenance, bulky items that have illegally made their way into the sewer/wastewater system are removed and FOG buildup is cleaned from the pipes using high-pressure water sprayers on a specially equipped truck – the Vactor truck. The Vactor truck allows the District to clean up sewer overflows immediately and more cost effectively.

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