From Engineering on March 24, 2009 in Bathroom Remodel
Weve heard the urban legend about alligators living in the sewers of New York City. As the story goes, these little reptilian critters apparently didnt make for very good pets and were simply flushed down the toilet. Oh the horror! If this gator tale was true and its not, then I would insert a really dumb joke here. But the truth is, we put ridiculous stuff down the toilet all the time, things which are far more dangerous than alligators.
Only biodegradable items should be flushed down a toilet. Non-biodegradable items cause clogs in the home and drive up the costs of wastewater treatment facilities. One treatment facility in Oregon said they send out approximately 50 tons of non-flushable items each year. To slow down this needless expense, heres a list of the things that should never be flushed down a toilet.
- Diapers. Believe it or not some people will try to flush diapers. Most main pipes are only four inches wide. Disposing of cloth, plastic, or biodegradable diapers in the toilet should never be done.
- Dryer sheets or fabric softener. Similar to plastic bags, the synthetic fabric will not break down.
- Cat Litter. Made of very heavy clay, this stuff sinks to the bottom of pipes, promoting sewer clogs.
- Chemicals. Paints, thinners, cooking oil, motor oil, and furniture varnish are all harmful to the cleaning process of wastewater.
- Cigarette butts. Non biodegradable, these are commonly flushed down the toilet.
- Coffee grounds. This element that can clog your septic tank.
- Dirt. Sometimes dirt from potted plants and flowers will spill in the bathroom. Throw the dirt in the trash, rather than the toilet.
- Latex condoms. Never dispose of condoms in the toilet!
- Plastic bags. This is another item that should be recycled.
- Paper towels. They wont break down like toilet paper does. They may choke up the main line as well.
- Tampons. These, too, can cause a clog in the main line.
- Toys. Its very common for children to flush their own toys down the drain. There goes my Bart Simpson doll!
- Underpants. Cloth will take a long time to break-down in water or a septic tank.
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