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    Here’s what Victorians should avoid putting down their drains

    Have you ever wondered about some of the things you’re putting down your drain?

    Believe it or not, some of the most common household cleaners and solvents are actually the worst for the environment.

    The CRD now has advanced wastewater treatment in the Core Area, but this doesn’t mean that wastewater treatment will deal with anything you put down the drain.

    Wastewater treatment cannot remove all contaminants, which means some contaminants can impact the environment even after treatment.

    This means that anything that goes down a drain inside our homes can end up in the ocean or in our groundwater.

    Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive to limit the amount of contaminants that go down our drains.

    CRD has provided some quick, easy and free actions to take to help keep our local environment clean, protect our private property and help maintain our wastewater infrastructure, and you can check them out below:

    Make your own cleaners

    Save money while making a difference! There are environmentally-safe and inexpensive alternatives to most household cleaners. Lemon juice, baking soda and vinegar are just some of the natural products you can use.

    Here are just a few recipes:

    Scouring Powders 

    • 1 cup BAKING SODA  
    • ½ CUP SALT  
    • VINEGAR (add ½ teaspoon at a time until reaching desired consistency). 

    Use baking soda as an alternative to conventional scouring powders. Alternatively, combine vinegar and salt for an effective surface cleaner. 

    Household Disinfectant

    •  1 /2 CUP BORAX 
    • 4 LITRES HOT WATER  
    • Mix together.

    Borax can also be used as an alternative to bleach. 

    Lemon-Based Cleaner

    • 4 TBSP. BAKING SODA
    • 1 LITRE WARM WATER
    • 1 LEMON* 

    Combine baking soda and warm water. Add lemon juice as needed to cut grease. For use on countertops, walls, floors and upholstery.  Avoid storing cleaner at room temperature for extended periods.  

    Note: lemon juice should be run through a sieve to remove pulp before adding to spray bottle. 

    Avoid putting these common things down the drain

    Medications

    These can cause problems if they go down the drain. Unused or expired medications should be taken to your local pharmacy under the BC Medications Return program so they can be disposed of safely.

    Fats, Oils and Grease

    These can cause problems for our infrastructure and environment by clogging our pipes and impacting the treatment process. They increase plant maintenance costs and use up additional energy and capacity to break them down at the treatment plant.

    Microplastics

    These can end up in our oceans where they are mistaken as food by birds and fish. They are tiny plastic particles and fibres less than 5mm in size that can get into our wastewater from washing polyester clothing, by putting items like contact lenses down the drain or by throwing plastic litter where it can end up in storm drains.

    Unflushable Waste

    These can cause costly blockages and backups. This has become a bigger issue in recent years with increased use of products marketed as “flushable.” Our sewer and treatment infrastructure is not designed for items like wipes, hair, dental floss and other things that are often flushed but shouldn’t be. Only the Three Ps (pee, poo and toilet paper) are safe for our sewer systems.

    Chemicals

    These can be especially hazardous if they go down the drain. Solvents, oven cleaners, varnishes, paints and pesticides could be poisonous, explosive, corrosive or flammable – and very dangerous if disposed of incorrectly.

    Check out CRD’s website for more information on how you can contribute to how clean our wastewater is when it returns to the environment.

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