Is what you’re flushing down the toilet actually flushable? Only if it’s one of the Three Ps.

Is it flushable?

Clogs, blockages and expensive repairs are preventable when only the Three Ps get flushed!

While the package might say “flushable” it’s important to think twice before flushing that wipe down the toilet. The same goes for hair, dental floss, contact lenses and a host of other unflushables.

Not only can these items clog sewage systems, they can also cause damage to the Capital Regional District’s wastewater treatment facilities, built to process only the Three Ps: pee, poo and toilet paper.

“While we often think wastewater treatment will deal with anything we put down the drain or flush down the toilet, what we flush still matters,” explains Glenn Harris, senior manager of the CRD’s Environmental Protection team. “Flushing items you shouldn’t upsets the sewer system and causes of sorts of problems.”

Unflushable waste can cause blockages and backups in wastewater treatment systems, especially if they mix with fats, oils and grease, which you also shouldn’t put down the drain.

The implications can be costly – for residents and the region. In addition to maintenance and repairs to regional and municipal infrastructure, flushing things you shouldn’t can also damage private plumbing, meaning residents could face additional costs to address sewer backups and be left cleaning up a big mess.

In the community, blockages stemming from inappropriately flushed materials can also cause overflows of raw sewage into local rivers and lakes.

When “flushable” isn’t flushable

With the increased use of products inappropriately marked as “flushable,” what goes down the toilet is more important than ever, Harris says, noting that unlike toilet paper, which is designed to break down quickly once wet, wipes are designed to hold together.

“While these products get past the toilet, unfortunately they don’t get much further than that.”

The good news is that it’s not difficult, time-consuming or expensive to avoid clogs and blockages – you just need to remember “The Three Ps” – nothing else should go down the toilet.

Common culprits on the unflushable list are:

  • Wipes and other “flushable” products – disposable wipes (baby wipes, disinfecting wipes, personal wipes) and other items marked as “flushable” are not actually meant to be flushed.
  • “Stringy” things and plastic – the stringy things you find in the bathroom, like hair and dental floss, can tie together other unflushable waste in the sewer system, creating a big mess. Plastic items like condoms, contact lenses and tampon applicators must all go in the garbage, not the toilet.
  • Medication ­– flushing expired or unwanted medication can take it to the ocean where it negatively impacts the marine environment. Medications must be returned to a pharmacy for proper disposal.

Help keep the region’s environment clean, protect your home and maintain our wastewater infrastructure. Learn more at www.crd.bc.ca/noflush

Capital Regional DistrictEnvironment

Just Posted

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
WorkSafe BC investigating man’s death during Oak Bay tree removal

Man was working for contracted tree removal company when incident occurred

Vic High (Black Press Media file photo)
Vic High stadium plans drop promised 8-lane track to ‘barely wider than city sidewalk’

Friends of Vic High seek public inquiry into plans for Memorial Stadium Revitalization Project

A notice on the door of the Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. says it closes permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks location to close permanently after 16 years

Residents association seeks reason for closure set for Oct. 25

A bear similar to this black bear was spotted on Elk Lake Drive on Oct. 20 and is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich the night before. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear spotted several times in Saanich likely to be euthanized

Conservation officers still searching for bear reported near Elk Lake Drive

The West Shore RCMP released these images of a suspect as part of its investigation into a report of sexual assault on Sept. 17. (West Shore RCMP handout)
The West Shore RCMP released these images of a suspect as part of its investigation into a report of sexual assault on Sept. 17. (West Shore RCMP handout)
Sexual assault suspect sought by West Shore RCMP

Police are looking for help identifying this man

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Michael Leighton, who is wanted on 11 warrants on Vancouver Island and is a suspect in a recent break, enter and theft in Nanaimo. (Photos submitted)
RCMP looking for break-and-enter suspect with 11 warrants on the Island

Nanaimo RCMP say Michael Leighton a suspect in theft of pistol and $40,000 worth of coins

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

Most Read