Task force to explore education campaign about what shouldn’t go down the drain

Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2022

This mass of dried paper products that should not be flushed -- congealed by fats, grease, oil – was recently extracted from a suburban wastewater pumping station by Met Council employees.Fats, oils, grease, and rags (paper towels, disposable wipes, tissues, napkins, and other textiles) that are washed or flushed down the drain disrupt the flow of wastewater through the sanitary sewer system. This disruption leads to costly maintenance and equipment repairs for cities and the Metropolitan Council’s Environmental Services division.

These costs are passed on to users of the system – that’s about 90% of people and businesses in the region. Fats, oils, grease, and rags in the sewer can also lead to backups that can interrupt sewer use and damage property.

“Many people are not aware of the impacts of washing or flushing materials down the drain that don’t belong there,” said Tina Nelson, manager of Industrial Waste/Pollution Prevention for the Met Council. “But these materials can cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage to facilities that collect and pump wastewater and create costly and messy sewer backups into homes and businesses.”

City and industry representatives sought for task force

Environmental Services is forming a task force with community and industry representation to find solutions and educate the public about this problem. We are interested in your input and participation.

The goal of the task force is to:

  • Identify ways Environmental Services can support local governments in addressing fats, oils, grease, and rag clogs in local sanitary sewers.
  • Determine if our community partners would support a regional strategy to address the problem with residents, businesses, and institutions.
  • Solicit input so we can develop a toolkit for local governments and businesses.

We encourage all interested parties to be part of the solution and join the task force to help reduce the discharge of fats, oils, grease, and rags that are clogging the wastewater collection system.

To learn more about the task force and how you can help, please contact Andrew Wiatros at [email protected] or 651-602-4736.

What not to flush or put down the drain

Posted In: Wastewater & Water