What Not To Flush

Businesses and institutions

What you pour down the drain at your business could be costing you money, potentially creating a sewer backup on your property, and putting sewer workers at risk.

Fats, oils, and grease congeal around materials like shop rags, so-called "flushable" wipes, syringes, and other materials that don’t biodegrade and can be dangerous. These materials cause clogs in pipes and in wastewater pumps. The labor cost of cleaning this stuff out of pipes and pumps adds up — on your wastewater bill.


Fats, oils, and grease do not belong in city sewers. Pots, pans, and cooking areas should be wiped out prior to washing. Restaurants and businesses that use and dispose of grease should be required to have grease traps. Those traps should be routinely emptied and inspected. Waste oil should be collected and stored for recycling. Food waste should go in the trash or into a compost bin, not into a sink garbage disposal. Poster: Managing fats, oils, and grease.

Automotive shops

Paint strippers, solvents, and other hazardous materials must be disposed of properly. Talk to your city or county hazardous waste official if you have questions. When these materials go down the drain, they can corrode pipes and create a toxic atmosphere for sewer workers. Traps for sand, grit, and oil in loading and service bays must be cleaned regularly.

Medical and long-term care facilities

Strict regulations dictate the disposal of medical waste, but some cities are finding that wastewater pumping stations near clinics and nursing homes catch materials like syringes in their screens and pumps. In addition, some long-term care facilities are throwing used wipes down the toilet that do not biodegrade. These also create clogs and potential wastewater backups.


Industrial-type businesses may require a special permit from the Met Council for wastewater disposal. Learn more about industrial waste disposal.

Do the right thing. Learn how to dispose of waste properly.

If you have questions about small business or industrial wastewater discharges, including limited or one-time discharges, call us at 651-602-4703.