Everyone has a role in keeping our local waterways and the environment healthy. Whenever possible, individuals, and organizations should use practices that reduce or eliminate wastes – at the source.
Freeze FOG – To Keep Your Wastewater Flowing
Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from food build up in wastewater pipes when flushed or rinsed down kitchen drains. FOG sticks to the insides of wastewater pipes that connect your home or business to the local and regional wastewater system. Built up FOG can clog pipes and cause problems such as costly repair and cleanup at your expense, wastewater backing up into your home or your neighbor’s home, or wastewater overflowing into neighborhood parks, yards, and streets.
Grease – Gravy, mayonnaise, fat from meats, lard, sauces, and soups.
Scrape food scraps into the trash.
Pour grease into metal cans, let it harden and throw in the trash.
Stop using your garbage disposal, or try to minimize its use.
Wipe pots, pans and dishes with a paper towel before washing them.
Pour grease down the sink or toilet.
Don’t use cloth towels or rags to scrape oil or grease off plates and utensils because grease will drain to the sewer when you wash the towels.
Don’t run water over dishes, pans, fryers or griddles to wash oil and grease down the drain.
Trash It, Don’t Flush It
Drains (toilets, sinks, etc.) are not trash cans, and the wastewater system can’t handle chemicals or trash. Chemicals can harm the treatment plant and environment, and trash can cause sewer back-ups and overflows.
Many common household products contain hazardous ingredients that can be dangerous to children, pets, and others. They could also cause problems in your wastewater line if poured down the drain or toilet.
Paper and plastic trash, such as the items listed below, should be put in your garbage can or dumpster:
feminine hygiene products and applicators
disposable diapers and wipes
Starting July 2022, product packaging for baby wipes, makeup wipes, cleaning wipes, and other personal care wipes sold in Oregon must clearly indicate that such products should not be flushed down toilets. This comes after Gov. Kate Brown signed HB 2344 into law on June 8, 2021, making Oregon only the second U.S. state to require “Do Not Flush” labeling on disposable wipes. The MWMC supported HB 2344 and is glad that it is now law. The MWMC sent a letter of support to Oregon House District 11 Representative Marty Wilde, as well as provided testimony on several occasions.
The flushing of disposable wipes causes clogs in wastewater pipes and pumps, as well as damage to equipment at wastewater treatment plants. Additionally, accumulation of wipes in pipes can lead to backup of wastewater into homes and public spaces, creating a public health hazard and environmental damage.
Drug Take Back
Have unwanted or expired prescription drugs around the house? Drop them off at a MedReturn Box. Boxes are located in the lobbies of:
Springfield Justice Center, 230 4th Street in Springfield, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday
Lane County Sheriff’s Office, 125 E. 8th Street in Eugene, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday
Coburg Police Department, 91136 North Willamette Street in Coburg, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday
Cottage Grove Police Department, 400 E Main Street in Cottage Grove, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday
Junction City Police Department, 672 Greenwood Street in Junction City, open 24 hours
Oakridge Police Department, 76435 Ash Street in Oakridge, open 24 hours
The box accepts:
Over the counter medications
Vitamins and nutritional supplements
No needles, sharps, liquid medications, ointments/lotions, thermometers, or aerosol cans/inhalers. Private clinics or hospitals may not deposit medications/prescriptions in the box.
Why use the MedReturn Box?
Reduce prescription drug abuse, especially among kids and teens. More teens abuse prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine combined. Teens say prescription drugs are widely available from a variety of sources, including their home medicine cabinets, and those of friends and relatives.
Avoid the accidental consumption of drugs by pets and children. The Drug Take Back box is an easy way to keep medications away from kids and pets.
Keep our waterways clean! The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality sampling has found trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in some Oregon streams and rivers, and even groundwater. Do NOT flush unwanted medications down the toilet. This leads to the wastewater treatment plant, and eventually, our waterways.
Additionally, community kiosk drop-off sites at local pharmacies accept unwanted and expired prescription drugs. You can also pick up a postage paid, pre-addressed envelope from select locations if preferred. To find a convenient drop-off site or envelope pick-up site near you, click here.
Pollution Prevention Video
Check out our Pollution Prevention video to learn about the everyday actions you can take to help us keep our local waterways and the environment healthy.