Protecting your plumbing can keep holiday plans flowing smoothly

Turkey, extra chairs, the good utensils and dinnerware. It's list-making time as the holidays loom large, but there is one thing Springfield residents don't often add to their checklists: protecting the plumbing.

This can be a time of year that the City of Springfield Service Department is busy responding to sewer backups, and it can be messy and costly for some residents. Because the holidays can be hard on your plumbing.

As families gather for the holidays, they're cooking more food than usual, which means they're washing more dishes than usual, which means more people are using the facilities than usual. All that drain activity, if one isn't careful, can cause problems.

But there are ways to avoid clogged pipes and sewer backups.

The key is what goes down your drain and gets flushed down the toilet. Or what doesn't.

A common culprit: disposable wipes. Emblazoned on nearly every container of bathroom wipes is a misleading term that could cause big problems in your household - flushable.

Disposable wipes, “flushable” wipes, and baby wipes are moist towelettes that are used for added hygiene. While marketed as “flushable,” and even though they do go down the toilet drain, the problem is what happens, or doesn’t happen, afterward.

Unlike toilet paper, wipes do not disintegrate. For our sewer system to operate effectively, materials that are flushed into that system must break down so that blockages don’t occur. ‘Flushable’ wipes may go down the drain, but they stay intact.

Combine that with the grease that some households pour down the kitchen drain, you have a recipe for disaster that you don't want on your Thanksgiving menu.

Wipes and other unflushables tend to cling together, forming solid masses that stick to the coagulated grease in the system. The result are gobs of solid masses that clog sewer lines and push some very undesirable material back into neighborhood homes.

The solution? Your garbage can. Wipes, moist towelettes, grease, food, all go in the trash can.

The only thing that goes down the toilet are human waste and toilet paper.
Other items commonly found in sewer lines:
  • Rags
  • Diapers
  • Condoms
  • Dental floss
  • Feminine products
  • Food
  • Fats, oils, and grease
  • Pills
  • Q-Tips
What should you do if a sewer backup occurs in your home? Call the City Service Department at 937-525-5800. The problem may be in the public sewer lines. If not, Service Department staff will let you know if you need to call a plumber.

But take those small steps to protect your plumbing before the holidays. Just those few precautions can save your household from a rude interruption to your celebrations.