Don’t Flush Wipes, Grease, or PFAS in Public Water Systems

02 Jan | Scarborough Sanitary District

Don’t Flush Wipes

Flushing wipes down the toilet might seem harmless, but it can lead to significant problems for our sewer system and the environment. Wipes do not disintegrate like toilet paper; instead, they accumulate in the sewer system, causing blockages and costly repairs. 

They also contribute to the formation of ‘fatbergs’ — large masses of fat, oil, grease, and other non-biodegradable matter that obstruct sewage flow. So remember, only flush the three P’s: pee, poop, and paper (toilet paper, that is).

Don’t Pour Grease Down the Sink

When it comes to maintaining a healthy and efficient sewer system, what goes down our drains matters just as much as what gets flushed. One of the most common culprits of sewer blockages is grease.

Pouring grease down the sink may seem like an easy solution for disposing of cooking waste, but it can create significant problems for both your home plumbing and the public sewer system. When grease cools and solidifies, it can stick to the insides of pipes, causing blockages that lead to backups and overflows.

Here are some best practices to prevent grease-related plumbing issues:

  • Dispose of Grease Properly: After cooking, allow grease to cool and solidify, then scrape it into a sealed container and dispose of it in the trash.
  • Use Strainers: Place a strainer in your sink drain to catch food scraps and other solids.
  • Educate Others: Share this information with family, friends, and neighbors. The more people know about the problems caused by grease in our sewer system, the better we can prevent them.

PFAS in Public Water Systems

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are synthetic chemicals used widely since the 1940s in various consumer products and industrial applications. Due to their extensive use and persistence, most people in the U.S. have been exposed to some level of PFAS. Prolonged exposure to certain PFAS above specified levels may lead to adverse health effects.

In light of this, the Maine legislature passed S.P. 64, mandating all Community public water systems and Non-Transient, Non-Community (NTNC) schools and daycares to test their finished drinking water for PFAS.

For more information about PFAS in public water systems, please view this helpful resource from

Remember, every little action can make a big difference. By being mindful of what goes down our drains, we can help maintain a healthy sewer system and protect the environment. Together, we can create a cleaner, greener Scarborough.