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New Year’s Resolutions: Protect Your Pipes, Protect Our Environment

December 29, 2022

This Year’s Resolutions

Exercise, eat more vegetables, floss every night … it’s that time of year again! What are your top New Year’s resolutions? Does protecting your pipes make the list? If not, it should! Not only does proactively protecting your sewer system help prevent backups and overflows, but it also can save you money and protect the environment. That certainly makes for a Happy New Year!

Remember, everything that goes down your drain travels out of your home through miles of pipes and into wastewater treatment facilities before it is released back into the environment. Help keep wastewater treatment facilities from being overwhelmed by contaminants (and in turn, help stabilize wastewater treatment costs) and help keep wastewater where it belongs (in the pipes!) with the following easy steps:

1. Don’t Flush the Wrong Stuff
Wipes and other garbage pulled from a wastewater treatment facility.

Paper towels, feminine products like tampons and pads, wet wipes (even those that claim to be flushable) and any other material besides the three P’s (pee, poop, and toilet paper) do not break down. As they make their way down the toilet and through the pipes, they meet a variety of obstacles in their path, from pipe elbows to tree roots (uh oh!) to previously flushed garbage. All of this can add up to backups in your home and an expensive call to the plumber. If the material does manage to make its way through the many miles of pipes to a wastewater treatment facility, it mucks up the machinery meant to clean the water before it is released back into a nearby water sources. This causes excess stress at the plants, and can cause expensive damage to machinery.

2. Track Your Trees

If you have noticed slow draining or strange noises from your toilets, showers or sinks, you might want to find out where your sewer laterals are located and see if any deep rooted trees are planted within 10 feet. If so, root intrusion could be the culprit. Roots can break through sewer pipes, causing leaks and blockage. Call 811 to have your sewer lines located.

3. Fight the FOG

As you begin planning your New Year’s menu, whether it’s for celebrations on the 31st or making up for it with a juice cleanse on the 1st, be careful of what you let go down your drain or into your garbage disposal. Fats, oils and grease can all cause clogs in your pipes and back up your sink. Fibrous vegetable peels can also be a culprit, so keep that in mind as you prep that smoothie!

Sewer pipe clogged with fats, oils, and grease.
Sewer pipe clogged with fats, oils, and grease.
4. Use Drain Strainers in Bathroom Drains

This can keep debris and hair from entering pipes and causing clogs. Be sure to remove the strainers and clean them regularly as well!

5. Replace Old Plumbing

This long-term resolution is one that you should not put off if you live in an older home. Aging pipes can leak or burst, allowing sewer water to collect in your home or yard. MetroConnects is out in the community everyday rehabilitating municipal pipes — but it is the homeowners responsibility to maintain lateral pipes that run from the property line or right of way into the home.

6. Avoid Cleaning with Chemicals

Harsh chemical cleaning products can be tough on the pipes. Opt for gentle formula or “green” cleaners instead. These can be less abrasive, and have the added benefit of keeping chemicals from leaking into groundwater and from entering wastewater treatment plants.

7. Forgo Harsh Chemical Drain Cleaners

Not only are chemical drain cleaners such as Drano or Plumbr largely ineffective, but they also can do serious damage to pipes, especially older ones. Try a plunger or snake instead, and when necessary, call a professional. Don’t forget, if the clog is further down in your pipes, MetroConnects might be able to help! Call us first at (864) 277-4442.