Monday, May 24, 2021

Friendly reminder: What not to flush

What Not To Flush
The Franklin Sewer Division has experienced increased issues with sewer backups due to non-flushable items in the sewer system.  When flushed down the toilet, items such as baby wipes, hand wipes, floor wipes, rags, etc. often get stuck in our sewage pumps, which can damage the pumps and potentially cause sewer backups.  In addition to the costly pump repairs, sewer backups can result in damage to nearby homes and businesses and can have environmental impacts if the sewage is discharged into the environment.

  • Paper towels, disposable wipes, washcloths and rags
  • Synthetic materials such as plastic, which do not decompose or dissolve
  • Feminine products
  • Cotton balls
  • Diapers and baby wipes
  • Unused Medications
  • Syringes
  • Fats, Oil and Grease 
We thank you for your help in keeping our sewer system running smoothly!!

Paper towels, disposable wipes, washcloths and rags are becoming more and more of a problem for sewer systems with the increase in "disposable" wipes.  These wipes may be disposable but that does not make them flushable!  Please do not flush swiffer wipes, baby wipes, diapers, disposable toilet bowl cleaners or any other non-toilet paper product.  These items cause major problems in our sewer pumps and we are not alone.  As discussed in a USA Today article tilted "Wipes in the Pipes Snarling Sewers" (, this issue is is affecting sewer systems across the country.  So please do your part and don't flush wipes!

Fats, Oil and Grease are some of the primary causes of blockages in sanitary sewer collection systems. Too often grease is washed into the plumbing system usually through the kitchen sink. When grease cools it lines the pipes, decreasing the opening until the pipe blocks up completely and sewage backs up into homes, businesses or manholes.  Do not pour grease down the drain. Instead, pour it into a disposable container, let it cool, and dispose of it in the trash.  The City of London was recently in the news for a 15 ton grease ball stuck in their sewer system - to learn  more check out this article from the Water Environment Federation magazine.

Unused Medications are often disposed of in the toilet, but it is important to remember that treated wastewater eventually ends up in our rivers and streams.  A 2002 USGS study found that 80% of streams in the U.S. have measurable concentrations of prescription drugs.  To help reduce our impact on the environment, please dispose of unused prescription medications properly.  Ask your pharmacy if they have a take-back program, or dispose of unused medications in the Take-Back Container at the Franklin Police Department located at 911 Panther Way.

Syringes can be safely disposed of at the Franklin Police Department, 911 Panther Way. Syringes will not be accepted unless they are in an approved sharps container.  

If you own a business here in Franklin, please print and post our What Not to Flush Flyer

Want to learn more about how sewage is treated?  Franklin's sewage is treated at the Charles River Pollution Control District in Medway.  Click here for a general overview of how the treatment system works.


Shared from the Town of Franklin page

Download the "What not to Flush" flyer:


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