Many items we use on a daily basis cannot go down our toilets or drains. Several products, even those labelled “flushable,” do not dissolve. This can cause:
- Damage or blockages to your home plumbing, which could lead to basement flooding.
- Damage to the City’s sewer pipes located under the streets, which could lead to basement flooding.
- Damage to wastewater treatment plants.
- Harm to the environment and aquatic habitat in the Lake, local streams and rivers.
To help keep the entire sewage system working well, please do not flush or put the following products down the drain:
- Hygiene products (i.e. sanitary supplies, condoms, wipes).
- Fats, oils and cooking grease.
- Medication (i.e. pills or liquid).
- Household hazardous waste (i.e. paints, pesticides, cleaning products).
View the accordions below for a detailed list of what not to flush and instructions on how to properly dispose of the material.
Should you see a spill to the environment or the sewer system, please call 311 immediately.
Below are the top hygiene items that should not be flushed and where to dispose of them safely:
||Where it should go
|Wipes of any kind (i.e. bathroom, baby and cleaning wipes)
Even those that say flushable can cause problems
|Tampons and sanitary supplies
|Paper towel (not contaminated with chemicals)
Fat, Oil & Grease
When fats, oils, and grease are washed down the sink or toilet into the plumbing system they cool, harden and stick to the inside of sewer pipes. Over time, the grease will build up and can block the entire pipe – both on your property and on City property.
Where fat, oil & grease can be found
- meats and bacon drippings
- lards, shortening, cooking oil, butter and margarine
- food scraps and baking goods
- sauces, salad dressings and gravy
- dairy products (milk and cream)
- sandwich spreads
What can you do to help prevent sewer system blockages
- Never pour grease down sink drains or into toilets.
- Do put baskets/strainers into sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids. Empty the drain basket/strainer into the Green Bin for disposal.
How to dispose of fat, oil and grease safely
- Let the grease cool and harden, then scrape it, along with food scraps from trays, plates, pots, pans, utensils, grills, and cooking surfaces, into your Green Bin.
- Small volumes of liquid cooking oil can be placed into the Green Bin as long as the oil can be absorbed by the other organic materials or paper towels.
- Larger amounts should be collected into a sealed container labelled “cooking oil” and can be dropped off at household hazardous waste (HHW) depots located at transfer stations and community environment days. You can also call the Toxic Taxi, which will pick up your liquid cooking oil along with any household hazardous waste you have (minimum quantity of 10 litres of combined cooking oil and household hazardous waste — but not mixed together).
Grease traps for food service establishments, child care centres & mobile food vendors
Under the Sewers By-law, it is mandatory for all restaurants and other food service establishments, child care centres and mobile food vendors to install a grease trap (interceptor) on any fixture or drain that discharges wastewater. This includes sinks for washing dishes, and drains serving cooking equipment and self-cleaning exhaust hoods.
As a result of better measurement instruments and techniques, traces of pharmaceuticals are being detected in the environment. One way this is happening is by consumers flushing medication, such as pills and liquids, down the toilet or sink. This can harm the environment and aquatic wildlife.
How to dispose of medication safely
Household Hazardous Waste
The following household hazardous waste should never be flushed down the drain:
- Car and garage products (i.e. antifreeze, motor oil, window washer fluid).
- Household cleaning products (i.e. cleaners, bleach, disinfectants).
- Paints (including any solvent, remover or glue).
- Personal care products (i.e. nail polish remover, perfumes, aftershave).
- Pesticides and garden products.
How to dispose of these items safely