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Thursday, August 20, 2020
Let's Talk Trash!

Protecting water quality starts with each of us!RiverWalk

When we use our toilets, showers, washing machines, garbage disposals or dishwashers, wastewater leaves our home through pipes that connect to the Columbus Water Works sewer system.

Putting the wrong things down the drain can damage our sewer system, cause sewer backups in our homes, and sewer releases to the environment.  We all need to take responsibility for our sewer system for what we flush or pour down the drains.  Every property owner connected to the sewer system can be a potential contributor to sewer problems and be impacted by them.

Trash and Wipes

Many household cleaning products are labels and marketed as “disposable” but do not break down in the city sewer system and should not be flushed down the toilet.  Some items include:Dont Flush

  • Paper Towels/Rags
  • Disinfecting wipes/Baby Wipes
  • Disposable Products/ Wipes
  • Animal Litter/ Animal Waste
  • Bandages
  • Dental Floss
  • Food Products/ Wrappers
  • Hypodermic Needles
  • Old/unused Medications
  • Cigarettes

These products don’t dissolve.  They clog pipes and cause expensive and time consuming repairs for us the homeowners.  We need to save ourselves and our wastewater utility from a pain in the drain – put wipes, rags and towels in the trash, not the toilet!

Did You Know?


Columbus Water Works pulls 440 to 550 gallons of wipes out of two of their pump stations each month from wipe clogs.


 Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG)

Grease sticks to household and sewage pipes, as well as trash.  Over time, grease build-up will block the entire pipe and result in raw sewage backing up into our homes or overflowing into the street or waterway.

Clogged PipeRunning hot water down the sink simultaneously with the frying oil does not keep it from solidifying in the pipes.  It’s already cold by the time it hits the larger system and can plug pipes completely. We should never pour grease in our sink drain or toilet.  Use the garbage disposal sparingly.  Instead compost vegetable food waste and save gallons of water every time.  We need to pour our grease and oil into a can and put it in the trash or better yet, save it and bring to one of Columbus Water Works’ recycling events.

If you have used cooking grease and cannot make it to one of our events, we have great news for you!  We have 11 Stationary collection sites located throughout the city, where you can drop off your used cooking grease any time.  please note that we ONLY take cooking grease.  DO  NOT LEAVE other household items at these sites. Click here for a map of locations

Unused / Expired Medications

When we don’t properly dispose of our medications, they make their way into the drinking water. We do not need to flush unused medicines or pour them down the drain or toilet.  Instead, we should throw our medications into the trash.  Medications are incinerated or buried in landfills.  Better yet, use drug take-back programs. Drop off unused medications at specified locations in our community. Drug take-back programs are organized by state and local governments and also by private institutions, including pharmacy chains.  

The Muscogee County Sheriff's Department collect unused and expired medications (NO needles or syringes) throughout the year at the following locations:

  • Muscogee County Sheriff's Department located at the Columbus, Georgia Consolidated Government Center on the 4th Floor - 100 10th Street (Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.). 

  • Citizens Service Center on the 1st Floor at the Front Desk located at 3111 Citizens Way (Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.).  

Columbus Water Works' next Grease and Pharmaceutical Recycling Event is January 9, 2021.  Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on these events and more!

Flush What

 Helpful hint:   Print out the “You Flushed What?” flyer and post it in your bathroom or kitchen to remind yourself what needs to be thrown away!

View a printable version of this flyer. (PDF)

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