Residential Pretreatment


Pretreatment in the Home

Sewers are designed to handle three types of waste products:

  • used water
  • human body waste
  • toilet paper

Residential PretreatmentKeep your sanitary sewer working properly

Follow these simple DOs and DON'Ts to Be G.R.O.S.S. and help prevent sewer backups and avoid expensive plumbing and cleanup bills.


DO: Collect fats, oils and grease (FOG) in a container and dispose of it in the garbage.

DO: Place food scraps in the garbage for disposal with solid waste.

DO: Place a wastebasket in the bathroom to dispose of personal hygiene products. (Disposable diapers, feminine products, facial tissue, cotton swabs, “flushable wipes” and personal hygiene products DO NOT belong in the sewer system.)

DO: Use hair traps in bathroom drains to prevent pet and human hair from clogging pipes.

DO: Use a backflow prevention device (BPD) as needed.


DON’T: Pour fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from cooking down the drain.

DON’T: Use the drain to dispose of food scraps.

DON’T: Use the toilet as a wastebasket for personal hygiene products (cotton swabs, “flushable wipes”, feminine hygiene products, dental floss, diapers, etc.), garbage, chemicals or old medication/medical devices.

DON’T: Plant trees with shallow, spreading root systems near your sewer lateral. Tree roots seek water sources, such as cracked sewer lines. Once the roots have penetrated the line through cracks, the roots can create a dense mat and trap materials.

‘Flushable’ wipes should NOT be flushed

Do not Flush iconYes, they will flush but what happens after you flush a ‘flushable’ wipe can be detrimental to your home’s plumbing system and the city’s water treatment facilities!

‘Flushable’ wipes take much more time to degrade in your sewer system than traditional toilet paper (think weeks versus seconds), leaving plenty of time to wreak havoc in your pipes!

A ‘flushable’ wipe can serve as a catcher’s mitt for other items disposed in your drain. Once it catches on a protruding piece of metal, the wipe will begin to capture other pipe deposits. Eventually a mass collection of items will grow causing clogs and flow issues. Overtime, the clog can lead to overflow in your home’s drainage systems!

Wipes that make it to the city’s water treatment facilities can also cause quite a bit of damage; think upwards of $20,000! While the city’s infrastructure is designed to catch these wipes and other debris, the increase in the volume of wipes can cause operational problems.