How to dispose of different waste products around the home or business can be a hit-or-miss situation. Do you toss, recycle, or pour down the drain? Some might say that one can pour more or less any chemical down the sink drain to be processed by the wastewater treatment plant. One should think again. Be very careful about what you put down the drain and know what chemicals not to pour down the drain, ever.
Dangers of Pouring Chemicals Down the Drain
You never want to assume you can pour just any wasted chemical down the sink. Some materials can cause extensive damage in multiple ways. There are at least four ways pouring chemicals down the drain can cause harm, including the following:
- Pollute the water: If you pour liquids down the sink drain, they will eventually go into the wastewater treatment plant, where solids are harmful pathogens are eliminated. If you include chemicals like ammonia or bleach in the mix, the plant might not necessarily treat for those substances. It is only in the past decade that treatment plants have taken steps to remove chemicals from wastewater more effectively, although pharmaceuticals are still at large.
- Corrode the pipes: Some chemicals could also corrode the metal pipes that the wastewater travels through to reach the plant. Others still, such as grease and oil, can cause clogs that can stop up an entire neighborhood.
- Create more hazardous combinations: Some products can create a more hazardous substance within the pipes. For example, one should never throw ammonia and bleach down the drain at the same time.
- Imperil public safety: Overall, although wastewater treatment plants remove key pollutants from our drinking water, they don’t remove everything. Moreover, drainage pipes are not indestructible. Taking care of what you put down the drain matters.
Chemicals Not to Pour Down the Drain
Here is a practical list of chemicals not to pour down the drain:
- Hazardous chemical waste
- Biohazardous waste
- Radioactive waste
- Controlled substances
- Corrosive waste
- Medical waste
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Hot liquids
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