Monday, June 29, 2015

Living Green in the Southwest: What NOT To Put Down Your Drains

[Each Monday elpasonaturally© will discuss ways to live more "green" in the southwest. (Actually, the tips can be followed most anywhere else.) Living "green" means living simply while recycling, reusing and repurposing. It means not only having a green home or business, but also being a good neighbor, knowing that we are part of a community and that our actions affect others, our ecosystem and the world. Today the subject is what NOT to put down your drains. BTW, for those of you who receive elpasonaturally© via email, videos do not display. Please go to to view a video.]

I asked El Paso Water Utilities for a list of things not to put down a drain or flush down a toilet. EPWU's Pretreatment Manager, Nancy Nye gave me this list and reasons for following each item:

Food scraps (especially from meat), dairy products, cooking oil and grease and condiments and sauces that contain oil or butter. All of these contribute to sewer line stoppages and overflow.
Paper (besides toilet paper), cloth, sanitary supplies such as paper towels, wipes, etc. These also contribute to sewer line stoppages and can cause damage to pumps when they become entangled. (Guess who pays for the pumps?)
Paint, solvents, motor oil and other automobile fluids. These are toxic to the microorganisms used in treatment of wastewater and they are harmful to aquatic organisms and human health.
Medications/drugs (human and veterinary) can accumulate in the environment and lead to accumulation in human tissue and blood. They are associated with other health effects including endocrine system disruption. gives a similar list along with some suggestions about what to do instead. also tells you What Not To Put Down Your Drain.

Angie (Angie's List) Hicks tells us that a minor clog can cost us from $100 to $200 and even a $1,000 (or more) if pipes need to be replaced. (All of us who have ever had sewer blockages can verify these numbers.)

The fact is that fat clogs (including those in human arteries) can be as tough as cement. Here's a video from London (England not Texas) of a "fatberg". I was totally repulsed:

Go HERE to read more.

Southern Water (this is not Mississippi and Alabama but Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight) has a very informative web page about the effects of fat, oil and grease on sewage systems. Particularly watch the video HERE. (Scroll down.)

If you think that municipal sewage clogs is something endemic to Merry Ole England, know that it is a problem in every urban water system across the Good Ol' U.S. of A. costing each large municipality millions of dollars per year. (And you know who pays for it so help out.)

This is why the City of Bothell, Washington has a web page devoted to fighting F.O.G. (fat, oil and grease). Oklahoma City too. Et. al. 

Bottom line: read the EPWU list above and in the links provided. Follow the directions.

Please support elpasonaturally©. Go HERE to donate and help turn El Paso "green". 

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