The Town of Drayton Valley is encouraging Drayton residents and businesses to think twice before flushing anything other than toilet paper down the toilet.

Jennifer Stone, with intergovernmental relations and communications for the municipality, says sewer backups caused by items that shouldn’t be put down the drain costs the Town and taxpayers money.

“If you are flushing things that shouldn’t be flushed, it can be really hard on our system and it can be costly,” says Stone.

Shelley Terry, the General Manager of Municipal Services, says Town typically responds to a few backups each year. The only thing that should be flushed down a toilet is toilet paper and waste, says Terry. Even wet wipes which are sometimes used instead of toilet paper should not be flushed.

Terry says depending on several different factors, such as how fast they discover the problem and how serious it is, dealing with a blocked line can cost up to $2,000. 

“Sometimes there can be extensive damage,” says Terry. “It can cause flooding.”

However, Terry says residents aren’t the main issue when it comes to blocked drains. She says grease, normally from restaurants, causes the most problems. That’s why they’ve recently changed their bylaws to state that restaurants are required to give regular maintenance to their grease traps.

“[The grease traps] need to be maintained at least every four weeks or when the trigger in their grease trap hits 25 percent,” says Terry.

Another issue is sediments, such as sand being washed down from a car wash. Terry says there are screens that can be installed to prevent the majority of the sediment from making it into the sewer system.

While residents aren’t the biggest contributors, Terry says people need to refrain from pouring grease into the drain and avoid flushing items that won’t break down. This includes feminine hygiene products, napkins, wipes, and diapers.

By Amanda Jeffery, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 08, 2024 at 10:05

This item reprinted with permission from   Free Press   Drayton Valley, Alberta

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