Flush with Care and Preventing Sewer Backflow
Above: video by Utilities Kingston (Ontario) on "FOG".
On occasion, we experience an increased amount of foreign substances and objects in our sewer system, causing back-up in sewer mains, residences and at our sewage plant.
This can cost the Town thousands of dollars in contractor services, maintenance work and equipment failures.
Face masks, undissolved so-called “Flushable Wipes” (while they flush they do not dissolve) and any kind of cloth are a major contributor to back-ups.
“FOG” - Fats, Oils and Grease also lead to back-ups and wastewater treatment problems. In large concentration, phenomena known as 'fatbergs' have been known to develop in sewer mains. Fats oil and grease should be collected in cans or jars and disposed of in the garbage not down the sink.
The only things that should go into a toilet are the THREE Ps:
All else causes problems and increased costs to repair and maintain our Wastewater (Sewage) collection and treatment system. This impacts YOUR utility user fees and property taxes.
Causing a back-up can affect a whole block. Just talk to someone who has experienced a raw sewage back-up in their residence and appreciate that it is worth being more careful in the use of the Town's sewer system.
Sewer Line Maintenance - it's important
The Town is not typically responsible for what happens to your sewer line between your home and the sewer main in the street. Property owners needs to take special care of their line and investigate backflow problems/ deficiencies, particularly if it is an older line:
If you are concerned about backflow, it important that your sewer line has:
- A backflow prevention valve and clean-out access in the basement of the home;
- An unobstructed vent stack (check regularly for blockages like bird's nests);
- A functioning basement sump pump - they're not just for rainwater.
The Town will always investigate camera footage and other information if it is felt that an issue in the sewer main itself is causing problems. If it can be established that a boulevard tree, for example, has caused a blockage in a service line, it will be investigated.