Prevent Sewer Overflows and Backups

What you put down the drain matters! Everyone has a role in preventing sewer overflows, including you!


What you put down the drain matters!

Putting debris down the drain contributes to sewer overflows that can backup into your neighborhood, your home or nearby waterways. For more information visit the Baykeeper website and the East Bay Municipal Utility District's Residential Pollution Prevention webpage.

It is ILLEGAL in the City of Oakland to pour pan drippings, cooking oil and shortening, fat from meats, dairy products, oily sauces and salad dressings down the drain. Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG), harden in the sewer system and can contribute to sewer overflows. Pour cooled FOG into a sturdy container and recycle or discard it in your green yard trimmings cart or garbage. For more information about the City of Oakland's FOG Program, please click here: Fats Oils and Grease Program.

Don't put food scraps down the drain. Sending food down the drain, even if you use a garbage disposal/grinder, contributes to sewer overflows. Always scrape your plates and set aside your food scraps. Food scraps can be recycled in your green yard trimmings carts. This will help protect your home and your family from messy and expensive sewer problems.

Don’t put anything other than toilet paper down the toilet. This includes baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, paper towels, used bandages, cleaning wipes, cotton swabs (including Q-Tips), makeup pads, dental floss, kitty litter and the like, should never be flushed down the drain. "Flushable" wipes are one of the biggest problems for Oakland sewers. Wipes should never be flushed, even if the package indicates the wipes are "flushable".

The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) has developed a video on "What not to Flush". Here is a link to the video: EBMUD's "What not to Flush" Video.

Plant trees or shrubs away from sewer lines.

Plant roots are one of the most common causes of lateral line problems. Don’t plant trees or shrubs that will grow up later and clog your lateral lines