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What can and cant go down your drain

Fats, oils and grease

Fats, oils and grease do not go down the drain. Once they cool in the sewer they quickly solidify, sticking to the walls of pipes and clogging them up. If they mix with other items, such as wet wipes then blockages can occur even faster. Each year Icon Water engineers clean over 3000 kilometres of sewer pipes across the capital, that’s enough pipes to stretch from Canberra to Cairns. The pipes that run from your home to the main sewer are only a few inches wide. They can become blocked easily and if this occurs on the house-side of the water meter, then you will need to pay for a plumber to get them unblocked. In addition to this, human waste can quickly back up into your street, garden or even your home, causing a disgusting and costly mess - which is completely avoidable.

What to do: 

  • Recycle used cooking oil or properly dispose of it by pouring it into a sealable container and placing the sealed container in the rubbish bin.
  • Put food scraps into the rubbish bin, not the sink.
  • Before washing pots, pans, and dishes, wipe them with dry paper towels. Then throw away the paper towels in the bin.
  • Place a catch basket or screen over the drain when rinsing dishes, or when peeling or cutting food, then throw the left over scraps in the trash.

What not to do: 

  • Don’t use a garbage disposal or food grinder. Grinding food up does not remove fats, oils and grease. Even non-greasy food scraps can plug your home’s plumbing and sewer network.           
  • Don’t pour cooking oil, pan drippings, grease, or sauces down the sink or even toilet.
  • Don’t use kitchen sponge to scrape plates, or clean greasy or oily dishes. Using a kitchen sponge to wipe the pot, pans and dishes will still put the fats, oils and grease down the drain.