TO FLUSH OR NOT TO FLUSH.  That is the question!  
This is a topic that is more important that you realize when it comes to your water and sewer drainage.  What you can flush is simple:

  1. Pee
  2. Poop
  3. Toilet Paper

Pretty simple!  But this is all that should go in your toilets.
What NOT to flush is a long list of items, but if you follow the above list of what you can flush, you will be safe.  However, here is a list of some of the common items that people flush and/or dispose of down a drain but should NOT: 

  • Kleenex, paper towels or tissue paper.  These items are made to absorb moisture and take longer to break down in the sewer system and can cause blockages
  • Unused drugs or pharmaceuticals. These should never be flushed! Although some believe this to be a safe way to dispose of these things, it is not. There are often times when wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove certain chemicals found in drugs, and that means they are not removed, and get pumped into lakes, rivers, or groundwater with dangerous chemicals still present. People swim in lakes and rivers, and other communities’ drinking water comes from underwater aquifers.
  • Fats, oils or greases (although these go down the sink easily when heated, they cool in the sewer systems and cause blockages).
  • Big chunks of garbage, sand, metals, wood, straw or grass, wastepaper, plastics, toys, animal parts, goldfish, glass, cat litter (including so called “flushable” cat litter), disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, tampons (including tampon applicators), other bulky so called “disposable” products, or similar substances.
  • Corrosive substances, either acidic or caustic.
  • Rainwater and storm water; foundation drains, sump pumps, roof drains, etc.
  • Flammable or explosive liquids, solids, or gases. Anti-freeze or coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid and other automotive chemicals.
  • Paint, stains, wood preservatives, solvents, sealants and thinners
  • Any substance that is toxic to the treatment facilities or workers in the facilities.
  • Poisons and hazardous waste
  • Anything radioactive.
  • Fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, insecticides.
  • Medical equipment and medicines (again, do not flush drugs!)

And please remember to monitor what your children may want to flush! You would not believe some of the things technicians pull out of drainage pipes.  

Although the things that you may flush down the toilet may escape your home’s plumbing, the sewerage blockages that occur in the larger pipes affect many more people than just your family. Because the sewer services are a publicly  operated service, the cost to maintain that infrastructure is collected from taxes, and more blockages means a more expensive public bill.

If what you flush down the toilet does not make it out of your home’s plumbing system, the damage it can cause can be extensive, and, at times, not covered by your home owner’s insurance. This can have a devastating effect on your life.

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