A lifelong commitment that’s easy to make: Love Your Pipes

Home / News & Resources / Media Center / Press Releases / A lifelong commitment that’s easy to make: Love Your Pipes

7 ways to show the toilets, pipes and drains in your home or business some love during Love Your Pipes Week, Feb. 10-14

MADISON, WIS. — As that classic ‘70s song goes, love stinks. But so does a sewer backup in your home. Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to minimize backups in your home by showing your toilets, pipes and drains some TLC.

“Like strong personal relationships, your home’s pipes require care, attention and commitment,” says Amanda Wegner, communications and public affairs manager for Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District. “When you care for your pipes, they care for you as well, saving you time, money and headaches by reducing the chances of a sewer backup.”

Not sure how to give your toilets, pipes and drains the love and attention they need? In recognition of the District’s self-proclaimed Love Your Pipes Week, February 10 through 14, here are seven ways homeowners and businesses can maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with their toilets, pipes and drains.

  1. Only flush pee, poo and toilet paper. Dental floss, plastic wrappers, bandages, tampon applicators, kitty litter and cat poo, toys and other items can get stuck and clog the sewer line that connects your home or business to the District’s sewer system and cause messy, expensive backups or degrade your sewer line.
  2. Despite the name, flushable wipes should not be flushed. They don’t break down like toilet paper and can get caught in your pipes and the sewer system, causing clogs and backups.
  3. Say no to fatbergs in your pipes and the sewer system by putting fats, oils and grease in the garbage instead of down the drain; the City of Madison also accepts cooking oil for recycling.
  4. Floor drains, garage drains and utility sinks impact your sewer line and are not a place to dump things such as household chemicals and paint. In Dane County, the Clean Sweep program provides safe, appropriate disposal for these items.
  5. Homeowners are responsible for their sewer lateral, which is the sewer line that runs from the home to the street. When a sewer lateral gets clogged or tree roots grow into it, it is expensive and messy to fix. Minimize sewer lateral issues by only sending the appropriate items down the drain and toilet, and if you know you have tree root issues, put yourself on a preventative maintenance schedule. Businesses should also clean their laterals on a regular basis.
  6. Restaurants, commercial kitchens and other businesses engaged in food preparation or food service should clean grease traps regularly to prevent backups and fires. Also, separate waste such as straws and stir sticks to keep them out of the garbage disposal and your business’s sewer line.
  7. Businesses, schools and other public facilities are encouraged to provide appropriate waste receptables and signage to encourage employees, patrons and users to properly dispose of items.

“Each and every day, we find items in our sewer collection system and at the treatment plant that shouldn’t be there,” says Eric Dundee, the District’s Director of Wastewater Operations and Reliability. “But taking care of your toilets, pipes and drains is so easy to do, and when you show your pipes some love, we all benefit.”

To learn more about pollution prevention, District initiatives and how the District works, visit our website at madsewer.org, or follow the District on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.