Prevent Plumbing Problems

To avoid sewer pipe issues, flush only toilet paper down the toilet. Everything else goes into the trash!

Here are some common non-flushable items that can cause pipe backups and hazardous sewer overflows, or end up at the San José -Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility. Instead of flushing these items down the toilet, here are ways that residents can help not clog up the sewer system:

    • For wipes (even ones labeled flushable), paper hand towels, rags, feminine hygiene products,  and most items, dispose of them in the trash.
    • For pharmaceuticals, take them to a drop off bin. Here is a list of drop off pharmaceutical containers in San José (Set items aside until the shelter-in-place order is lifted) 
    • Items that cannot go into regular garbage, recycling, or compost because they are hazardous waste or contain hazardous materials
        • electronics
        • paints
        • motor oil
        • pesticides
        • batteries
        • mercury containing items like thermometers and light bulbs

should be disposed of at County Household Hazardous Waste. (Set items aside since HHW has suspended drop-offs and events in response to COVID-19.)

If these items do not clog your pipes and somehow manage to make their way to the waste treatment facility, the risk of clogging or damaging the processing equipment is probable. It requires intensive labor resources to monitor and clean debris away from machinery, or repair equipment. Let’s all do our part to minimize these problems during the pandemic.