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 Don't Flush That!

Water Services program areas include supply, protection, conservation and wastewater


Know where water goes

Do you know where water goes when it leaves your home or when it goes down a storm drain? The journey water takes can be quite different.

Journey of water from your home

Water flushed down toilets or poured down drains travels by pipe to one of the Region of Waterloo's Wastewater Treatment Plants. At the wastewater treatment plant, solid waste is removed from the water. The water is then treated and returned to the Grand River. Watch the video on the story of what happens when you flush the toilet to learn more.

 

Journey of water from the storm drain

Rain water or snow melt drains into a storm drain and returns directly to the local water way without any treatment. Stormwater management is the responsibility of the city where you live. Visit your city's website for more information. REEP Green Solutions also offers tips to help keep stormwater clean.

Water flushed down toilets and sinks is treated at one of the Region of Waterloo's wastewater treatment plants before returning to the Grand River. 

The water flushed down the toilet or that goes down the drain travels by pipe to a wastewater treatment plant. The clean water returns to the Grand River.

When it rains or when snow melts the water goes down a storm drain and returns directly to the local water way that eventually joins up with the Grand River.

When it rains or when snow melts, the water goes down a storm drain and directly to the local river or stream.


 Help keep water clean

Help keep water clean and wastewater treatment plants working properly. Please don't use toilets, sinks or storm drains as garbage cans. Properly dispose of items once you are done using them. 

  • Put wipes, including "flushable" ones in the garbage. After you flush wipes down the toilet, including "flushable" ones, most don't break apart. This can lead to blocked pipes that overflow causing health concerns, environmental issues and property damage. For property owners, blocked pipes can lead to toilet and sink overflows and costly repairs. For municipalities, blocked pipes increase costs due to unscheduled maintenance and may result in tax increases for the community. Read this fact sheet for more information.

Photos of what happens to wipes and other 'non-flushables' at the wastewater treatment plant.

  • Return unwanted medication to your local pharmacy. Medicines poured down your sink or flushed down your toilet may end up in our water ways. Medicines thrown in the trash can be accidentally eaten by pets or wildlife and have the potential to leach out into the ground at the landfill. Ask about take back programs at your local pharmacy to return unwanted medications. To find a location near you, go to the Health Products Stewardship Association website and enter your postal code.

  • Properly dispose of chemicals, oils, and paints. Improper storage and disposal of chemicals including cleaning products, oils and paints can result in accidental spills or chemicals leaking into our groundwater. Buy only what you need and properly dispose of unused materials. Consider using green alternatives instead. Certain Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) can be dropped off at the Region of Waterloo landfill or visit Orange Drop for drop off locations.

    For businesses, best practices help to prevent a spill from occurring. Reduce the clean up time and protect the local environment by developing a good spills response plan,  training staff to act quickly and reporting the spill.

  • Dispose of fat, oil and grease in the Green Bin. Improper disposal of fat, oil and grease (FOG) can block sewer pipes and cause build up on wastewater handling equipment. Blocked pipes can overflow causing health concerns, environmental issues and property damage.

    For businesses, anyone discharging or permitting the discharge of FOG must comply with the Region of Waterloo Sewer Use By-law 1-90. Workers, management, the facility owner and if applicable, the property owner, must understand and manage the type of materials and amounts going down the drain. Read this fact sheet for more information.


Know where your waste goes

This chart lists the correct disposal method for many household items that are routinely flushed. Please don't use toilets, sinks or storm drains as garbage cans. Properly dispose of items once you are done using them. Don't know where it goes? Ask Waste Whiz.

Explains how to properly dispose of items that typically appear at the wastewater treatment plant

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