Be Kind to the Pipes and Avoid Sewer Backups

Are you flushing wipes or paper towels down the toilet? Pouring grease down the sink? What you pour down the sink or flush down the toilet can lead to blocked pipes which is a costly damage to the sewer system and can create service disruptions.

For the past couple of years, the City’s Public Works – Water and Sewer Maintenance crew have seen a spike in non-flushable items and buildup in the sewer systems. Items that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet or poured down the drain are impacting the City’s sewer infrastructure causing clogged sewer pipes, backups and overflows which can directly affect our wastewater system and our environment.

To help keep the entire sewage system working well and prevent sanitary sewer blockages and/or sewer service line blockages that can result in basement flooding, the City is reminding residents to only flush waste and toilet paper and not to pour fats, oils and grease down the drain.

What Not to Flush

Products such as wipes (baby wipes, personal hygiene wipes, cleaning wipes), paper towels, tampons + applicators, condoms, floss and even hair cause problems. Unlike toilet paper, wipes don’t easily break down when flushed, even the ones labelled “flushable” or “biodegradeable”. Once flushed, wipes can clog sewer lines, pumps and pipes in homes, causing sewage overflows into residences and the environment. Put wipes in the garbage, not the toilet.

It’s important to keep chemicals and other materials out of our water supply to prevent clogs and odours in the drains and sewers.

Remember the three “P”s. Wondering what item can be flushed or not? Only three things that should be flushed:

  • pee
  • poo, and
  • (toilet) paper

What Not to Pour Down the Drain

When fats, oils, and grease are washed down the sink or toilet, into the plumbing system, they cool, harden and stick to the inside of sewer pipes. Over time, the grease will build up and can block the entire pipe – both on your property and on City property.

To prevent fats, oils and grease induced backups and keep our wastewater collection systems running smoothly follow these simple steps:

  • Cool it,
  • Scrape it, and
  • Bin it into your green bin

Residents can refer to the City’s Sanitary Sewer Connections and Regulations Bylaw No. 1091 as well as Metro Vancouver’s Greater Vancouver Sewer & Drainage District Sewer Use Bylaw No.299.

Available Resources



Ximena Ibacache
Manager of Communications & Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5499