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Notes from the City: Tama

April 26, 2013
By John Lloyd - Tama Public Works Director , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

This article and others to follow are intended to inform the public of various rules and regulations as well tips to help you which in turn may help us. This first article has to do with the City's wastewater system or the sanitary sewer. Have you ever had your sewer back up and called the

plumber? Well this article is to help you with a few tips so you don't have to make that call as often.

The best thing you can do is manage what gets flushed and what goes down drains in your home or business. Be careful what goes in a garbage disposal. Yes the disposal grinds up food but those pieces can still get caught in the lines and clog them. When you are done with the meal and you are not saving any more of it put it in the garbage (if you are not composting). Pieces of chicken, beef, and pork that you would put in your mouth are big enough to clog your drains even going through a garbage disposal. Fats, oils and grease DO NOT belong in the sinks or floor drains either (yes, there have been businesses that put fryer oil down a floor drain). They will eventually reduce the flow in your service lines and gunk up the sewer mains. Keep a can nearby and drain the fat off into the can. After the fat has cooled put the can in the garbage. Please compost egg shells and coffee grounds or put them in the garbage. Both are sharp and wear pump seals quickly and they do not breakdown.

Article Photos

John Lloyd
Tama Public Works Director

Things that should not be flushed at all and should be put in the garbage include: Q-tips, cotton ball, dental floss, baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, condoms, diapers, hair, children's toys, pens and pencils, billfolds, keys, dentures and retainers, underwear, disposable undergarments, litter box contents, paper towels, chemicals, washcloths and cell phones. The problem with these products is that they either do not break down well, they will wedge against the lines where there is an elbow, they are fibrous which catch on sewer lines and start causing backups, or they settle in the lines which reduces flow. If you do drop your cell phone in the toilet just get it out. Do not add insult to injury by flushing it. More than likely if you flush it you will be paying for a plumber on top of a new cell phone.

So how does this affect the City you ask? First, the City sewer mains are a collector for all things flushed or sent down drains. Second, if what gets sent down a drain or toilet clogs the sewer main it will most likely affect you and perhaps your neighbors. Think of raw sewage coming up a floor drain. Third, if the City cannot get the main flowing then we have to call a company to do it for us. That bill is has been no less than $600 and has been over $1,000. That bill is paid by utility rates. So in essence if you are willing to help manage what gets flushed and put in the drains, you are really helping yourself by keeping rates lower.



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