Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving and water quality tips

Tips from Franklin SWCD

Did you know that what you do in the kitchen can influence water quality? When sanitary sewers have back-ups, the sewage can end up in your basement or spilling over into local streams and rivers. To prevent either of these occurrences, be careful what goes down the drain before and after your feast.

Grease should never be rinsed down a kitchen drain. When grease cools, it hardens and sticks to the walls of sewer pipes. This is one reason restaurants must have grease traps, which are carefully maintained. At home, I use a coffee can kept under the sink and then tossed in the trash.

Another common Thanksgiving problem is the overuse of the in-sink disposal. This usually leads to problems within the house or in the line out to the sewage main–resulting in clogged drains and the need to find a plumber over the holiday. But when enough households are putting so much organic waste into the sanitary sewer system, it can also cause clogging in the larger lines that could lead to overflows.

If you have a septic tank and leach field or an aerator system, you must be even more careful about what goes down the drain. Make sure that your guests know that nothing goes in the toilet except human waste (and toilet paper) and that nothing goes down the sink except liquids. Try to schedule laundry so that you don’t run the washing machine the same day you have lots of kitchen prep and washing up.

Thanksgiving is a good time to remember the compost bin. The trimmings from vegetables and salad-fixings will add needed nitrogen to the carbon of all those leaves you’ve just raked!

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