Campaign – Don’t clog the pipes!

Sanitation Police i.e. SAPO is a campaign to remind people of what they should not be flushing down the toilet. The main purposes of the campaign are to prevent problems in wastewater network, improve the toilet culture and to raise awareness of the problems resulting from the misuse of sewerage network.

The objects that should not end up in the sewer system, but still do, vary from cigarette butts, dentures and pyjamas to dead pets etc. The reason for that is rather the ignorance than the ill will of people.

Many people do not know that coffee grounds clog pipes! Grease content contained in coffee grounds flushed down the toilet sticks to the pipes and can result in an obstruction over time. It is the same with milk, hair and broth.

Myths

Toilets are not connected through pipes

People often tend to disregard the fact that the whole wastewater network is interconnected. Blockages might be a threat not only to the person causing it, but to the entire apartment block or even a group of houses.

I am the boss in my own toilet

Although the individual apartement owners are solely responsible for their toilets, they are jointly responsible for the sewerage pipes of the entire apartment block as those wastewater pipes are in their joint ownership.

Any blockage can be fixed

Clearing blockages is hard work for the people operating the wastewater network. It often takes a lot of time and resource to detect and clear sewer blockages, which could be avoided by not flushing unsuitable objects down the drain.

However, we are unable to prevent all blockages, because sewerage system is a public asset that we all use. It is crucial to be proactive and do everything we can to prevent blockages. Everybody should avoid flushing even the smallest unsuitable objects, because those can form bigger clogs over time and cause a major blockage in the sewer.

Anything can be flushed down the toilet

Be that a hygiene product or a soup – it can be flushed. No! Those things should be sorted and binned.

What should never be flushed down the toilet?

 

  • Cotton buds are not soluble in water, but break into cotton fibres and plastic sticks. Those in combination with fat contained in sewage can form big globs.
  • Hygiene products are designed to absorb moisture and are not soluble in water. Hygiene products expand and clog pipes.
  • Cotton pads are made of cotton fibre and decompose in water. The fibres gather together in bends of pipes and cause blockages.
  • Diapers are designed to absorb moisture and are not soluble in water. Diapers expand and cause a lot of damage in the sewers.
  • Tampons are not soluble in water, but expand instead. Tampons are one of the most frequent causes of blockages.
  • Plastic bags are a threat to the environment, because they don’t break down easily and last long in water.
  • Candy papers when wet and flushed down the toilet build up easily and combined with fat they clog the pipes.
  • Packages. Very small number of packages are biodegradable in water.
  • Plastic objects last very long in water! In case of an unfortunate coincidence, even a plastic bottle cork may cause a blockage.
  • Hair. Although a single hair seems safe to be flushed, lots of hair pose quite a threat for a blockage.
  • Condoms cause many problems in sewers. Always throw used condoms into a bin.
  • Medicines are mostly solube lin water, but can cause uncontrollable consequences by toxic effects.
  • Bones take a long time to decompose in sewers and may get stuck in those.
  • Food waste. Fat contained in food builds up on the sides of pipes and can clog pipes.
  • Chewing gum is not soluble in water and combining with fat, hair and other trash in wastewater may cause blockages.
  • Old chemicals may badly affect the pipes and build up on the sides of pipes.
  • Coffee grounds coagulate with grease and can block pipes.