JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - "A lot of people think the toilet is a trash can, and it really isn't,” said Gilbert Sanchez, Jerome Waste Water Superintendent.
A newsletter was sent out to residents in the city of Jerome, stating that only two things can be flushed: human waste and toilet paper.
But, the Jerome wastewater facility sees more items than that.
“Other products that we get are band aids, feminine hygiene products, needles, cigarette butts, and especially fats, oils and grease around the holidays," said Sanchez.
Oils and grease can cause a blockage in the sewage line, which can result in sanitary sewer overflows.
Restaurants are able to separate the grease from their wastewater, but residents can't do that.
"Residents, they don't have, they typically don't have a grease trap on site, so they just have to, we're just asking that residents avoid putting any type of fats, oils, and greases or solids and anything like that down the sink.” Said Chelsea Wiegand, Industrial Pretreatment Coordinator at the Jerome Waste Water Treatment Facility.
Another big problem for sanitary sewer systems are hygiene wipes.
Even though some wipes are marketed as flushable, Sanchez says that they actually do clog the pipes, and so they should go in the trash. He says this is a nationwide problem, costing facilities millions of dollars to clean the pumps.
The newsletter states that you are responsible for the cost of any damage that results from wastewater backups in your home due to a clog within your service line.
“The homeowner is responsible for the plugs in the service line. Down the main line, if there's a plug there, then we're responsible for those. And so again, just as a matter of protection, don't put things down that you don't want to try to, that'll plug your service line,” said Sanchez.
The sanitary sewer system is part of the publically owned treatment works, which means that city of Jerome residents pay for the sewer system's maintenance.
The facility asks that citizens keep unwanted materials out of the sewer.