If you are experiencing a Sanitary Sewer related problem please contact Public Work Department
250-636-9123 Public Works
Property owners and residents are responsible for cleaning, maintaining and repairing their waste water plumbing and the building sewers up to the property line.
You can assist in the trouble-free operation of your own by following these Do's and Don'ts:
- Do not pour fats, oils and grease from cooking down the sink drain. ***Why? If your pots and pans are just oily or greasy, don't rinse them, wipe them out with a paper towel.
- Do not pour sour milk down the sink. ***Why? One litre of full cream milk has enough fat in it to cover the surface of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Simply dispose through your garbage.
- Do not use the toilet as a wastebasket / garbage can
- Do not use the sewer as a means to dispose of food scraps
- Do not wash food scraps, tealeaves, coffee grounds and eggshells down the sink.
- Do not flush razor blades, condoms, pharmaceutical products, cigarette butts, nail polish remover, toilet deodorant dispensers or other non-biodegradable products down the toilet. Also, toys can find their way into the system and cause problems. ***The proper way to dispose of these items is in your garbage. Pharmaceutical products (tablets, capsules and medicines) should be taken to pharmacy for safe disposal.
- Do not place jewelry and valuables on the edge of the basin or the sink ***Once flushed down the toilet, valuable and valued items are very difficult to recover. Take care not to drop dentures and wallets into the toilet
- Do not flush diapers, sanitary napkins, tampons, convenience pads, surgical bandages, syringes, and cotton tipped stems or pantyhose down the toilet.
- Do not dispose of plastics and plastic film from personal hygiene items, including disposable diapers, are one cause of private sewer blockages
- For soiled diapers, the best solution is to empty the contents into the toilet and then put the diaper in a plastic bag and into the garbage.
- Do not use excess detergent for washing up in the kitchen or laundry then what the manufacturer recommends. The average household uses three times more detergent than manufacturers recommended for washing dishes and clothes. When these detergents enter the sewerage system, they hold large amounts of oil, grease and fats in suspension making cleaning and treating the wastewater difficult and more costly. By cutting down on the amount of detergent used, there'll also be less phosphate in the environment to cause the growth of algae in water. And to top it off, you'll save money on buying the detergents!
Do not pour paint, engine oil, pesticides or chemicals down the sink, and don't try to burn them. Some hazardous materials can corrode the sewer, while others complicate the treatment process. In fact, dumping them in the sewer is illegal and you could be heavily fined. This isn't only because of the threat of these hazards getting into the environment; but also because these chemicals pose a health threat to maintenance and repair crews working in the sewers. Similarly, by throwing hazardous materials in the garbage, you are creating a risk for garbage collectors. Instead, store the chemicals in sealed containers and contact the BC Recycling Hotline @ 1-800-667-4321 for advice on where to take them for safe disposal. Also, don't ever try to burn these chemicals on your barbecue, in your fireplace or in the incinerator - they could produce toxic fumes that could seriously damage your health. For further information regarding the disposal of waste and material recycling please refer to the Garbage and Recycling section.
- Do not flush a commercial grease interceptor with hot water to clear or clean the interceptor in lieu of cleaning and pumping out the interceptor.
- Do let liquid fat, oil or grease cool and dispose of it in your garbage. It is not recommended to place fats/greases on your compost heap, this can attract rodents and it will also slow the composting process. ***If your pots and pans are just oily or greasy, wipe them clean with a paper towel and put the soiled paper towel in the garbage
- Do scrape excess grease in a container and dispose of it in the garbage
- Do place food scraps in waste containers or garbage bags for disposal with solid wastes, or start a compost pile; promote use of scraping of dishware prior to washing
- Place a wastebasket in the bathroom to dispose of solids wastes. Disposable diapers, condoms, and personal hygiene products do not belong in the sewer system
- Do use a strainer over the plughole in your sink, tub and shower. Then, either empty the collected material into the garbage, or better still, add them to your compost heap
- Do use a composter. If you haven't got a compost heap, start one with lawn clippings, garden rubbish and food scraps and use the compost to fertilize your garden. ***For further information regarding the composting please refer the Composting section.
- Do use the manufacturer's recommended amount of detergent for washing up in the kitchen or laundry. The average household uses three times more detergent than manufacturers recommended for washing dishes and clothes. When these detergents enter the sewerage system, they hold large amounts of oil, grease and fats in suspension making cleaning and treating the wastewater difficult and more costly. By cutting down on the amount of detergent used, there'll also be less phosphate in the environment to cause the growth of algae in water. Also, you'll save money on buying the detergents.
Excess domestic water from leaking toilet tanks or faucets, running in cold weather, and rainwater that enters the sanitary sewer system creates one main problem:
- Sanitary sewer, pump stations and treatment plants are sized to accommodate only sanitary sewer effluent and are not sized to accommodate excess water that enters the system. These systems may overflow unnecessarily because of this extra volume of water. Overflows may result in property damage or negative impact to the environment. Also, there is an increased power cost to operate pump stations and treatment plant which is passed onto the taxpayers (you).