Water and COVID-19

Posted April 3, 2020

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, many residents have been practicing physical distancing by staying home as much as possible. With more time spent at home, reliable utilities to wash hands, clean, and cook become even more important.

The pandemic has driven consumers to purchase and use larger amounts of disinfecting wipes to keep homes clean. Unfortunately, this also means there have been more incidents of clogged pipes from people flushing wipes down the drain, according to the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association. Clogged pipes not only create a problem for the homeowner, leading to potentially expensive repairs, but also for our shared municipal infrastructure that need to be maintained by frontline workers.

Remember that the only thing that should be flushed is toilet paper. Any wipes that claim to be “flushable” should not be flushed down the toilet as they do not dissolve like toilet paper. Partners in Project Green Member Ryerson Urban Water tested over one hundred types of single-use wipes and found that none of them were found to be safe for plumbing and sewers.

Another reminder is to not pour fats, oils, or grease (FOG) down your drain. With more meals being prepared and consumed at home, it’s important to make sure any FOG is captured properly in a separate container and doesn’t end up clogging your sink or pipes.

If FOG ends up in the plumbing system, it ends up trapped in your pipes and eventually over time, the entire pipe will be blocked. A helpful resource related to FOG is the I Don’t Flush campaign co-sponsored by multiple partners and regions, including Partners in Project Green Member Ontario Clean Water Agency.

Review these guidelines in further detail as provided by the City of Toronto, Peel Region, and York Region and help ensure your home plumbing and municipal infrastructure continues to run effectively.