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Save Our Sewers

2013 Thanksgiving Grease Recycling Event

Day-after-Thanksgiving Grease Collection & Recycling Event A Huge Success!

This year 2,340 pounds of used cooking oil and grease were collected in Pima County at all five of our locations. An additional 780 pounds were collected in Sierra Vista. This makes a total of 3,120 pounds that was collected for Southern Arizona. Southern Arizona has collected 25,178 pounds of grease since this event began in 2005.

Don't Throw Grease Down the Drain!

Ordinary kitchen cooking grease can be a real terror in the pipes beneath your home and in our sanitary sewage system. Over time grease build-up obstructs pipes, reduces sewage flow, and acts as a magnet for other debris.

Eventually this build-up can clog pipes enough to cause a Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO). An SSO is the backup of raw sewage into the street, the environment, or even into your home or other buildings through your sinks, tubs, showers, or toilets.

After cooking with grease or oil, allow it to cool and then pour it into a can. It is then safe to dispose of the can in the trash.

Wipe additional grease from pots, pans and plates with a paper towel before placing them in the sink or dishwasher.

Some people save their used cooking oils and grease in order to recycle it. Check out the listed brochures for more information:

What Can I Put Down My Drains?

Are there other substances I should not put in my drains or toilets? How should I dispose of hazardous waste?

Don't put automotive fluids, pesticides, solvents, and other similar substances down the drain. Select less toxic alternatives whenever possible and dispose of any household hazardous materials through the County/City Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program. Wastes are collected at the Household Hazardous Waste Center at 2440 West Sweetwater Drive and at collection sites throughout the city. For information, call 520-888-6947.

Don't put antifreeze down the drain. This will not protect your home's pipes from freezing in the winter.

What about medicines? How can I dispose of them safely?

Medicines should not be flushed. Many medications are not removed through the wastewater treatment process and can end up in the environment when discarded down drains. RWRD participates in the Dispose-a-Med Program, which runs events where you can safely dispose of unused and expired medicines.

If you cannot get to a Dispose-a-Med event, current recommendations are to grind medicines up with something like cat litter or coffee grounds to make them unusable, then throw them in the trash.

Should I flush disposable wipes?

Disposable Wipes Should Not Be Flushed! Disposable moist towelettes allow for the convenient clean up of sticky messes and are very handy during diaper changes. Another common use is to sanitize germy surfaces. Some manufacturers of disposable wipes indicate on the product’s packaging that the wipes are biodegradable and flushable. Because many of us are concerned about the environment, we want to buy products that are biodegradable; when we are told that we can safely flush a biodegradable product, it makes its use even more convenient.

Unfortunately, wipes rarely if ever biodegrade in the sanitary sewer system. However, their presence in the system can cause clogs and equipment failure in lift stations where mechanical pumps facilitate the conveyance of sewage in many areas of community. Additionally, if too many wipes accumulate in the sewer system, they can block pipes which can lead to the overflow of raw sewage into streets, buildings and the environment. When disposable wipes make it through the sewer system to a wastewater treatment facility, they are removed at the front end of the treatment plant and are taken to a landfill.

Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation asks that you do not flush disposable wipes down toilets. Instead, discard them in the trash. The proper disposal of these convenient and useful products will help keep our sewer system flowing properly, thereby ensuring the Department can safely contain, convey, and treat the community’s wastewater.

Can I discharge water from my swimming pool into the sewer? How?

Yes. Effective April 1, 2008, the discharge of swimming pool water into the public sewer system is generally authorized. For detailed information, see Swimming Pool Water Discharge Procedure (revised July 1, 2013).

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Wastewater Reclamation

201 N. Stone Ave., 8th Fl.
Tucson, AZ 85701

(520) 724-6500


Community Relations
Laura Hagen Fairbanks
(520) 724-6532

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