You Can Help Protect San Francisco Bay

When it comes to what we flush, it’s easy to think, “Out of sight, out of mind.” But what we flush can have a big impact on the health of San Francisco Bay.

Wastewater from homes and businesses in the District flows through almost 300 miles of sewer pipes to the wastewater treatment plant on Grant Avenue. The plant does an excellent job of returning clean water to the Bay. Clogs, however, can cause raw sewage to overflow onto the street.

Sewer overflows pose a serious threat to San Francisco Bay. When a sewer overflows, untreated wastewater can flow into creeks and storm drains and then into the Bay. Backups are usually caused by clogs in the sewer lines. Cleaning and disinfection wipes, moist towelettes, personal hygiene wipes, baby wipes, even items labeled “disposable” or “flushable,” should never be flushed down the toilet. Unlike toilet tissue, “disposable” wipes don’t disintegrate in water. They accumulate in sewer mains, where they lodge against pipe joints, backing up the wastewater. Dental floss flushed down the toilet can make the problem even worse. Dental floss is strong and durable. It can make minor clogs within pipes worse by “binding” materials together.

These items can also cause plumbing backups in the home. Clogged plumbing in a home can cause an unsafe mess that is difficult and expensive to clean up.Help prevent sewer backups by only flushing the three “P”s—Pee, Poo, toilet Paper.

Some things that belong in the trash, not in the toilet:

Makeup pads; Cleaning and baby wipes (even “flushable” ones); Hair; Bandages; Latex products; Dental floss; Diapers; Cotton swabs; Hygiene products.