Yarra Valley Water


What can go down the drain?

Everything that goes down the kitchen, laundry and bathroom sink or that's flushed down the toilet ends up in the sewerage system. 

Treated sewage is either reused or safely returned to our creeks, rivers and oceans. Putting the wrong things down the sewer affects our ability to treat and reuse the water and can cause damage to the system. 

We all play a part in helping the treatment process by being aware of our own actions and by realising the kind of sewage we generate has a real effect on the treatment process and the environment.

Do NOT put the following in the sewerage system:

  • plastics
  • motor oils, paints or pesticides
  • non-biodegradable products
  • fats, oils or food scraps
  • cotton buds, nappies, condoms,  sanitary products and wrappers
  • medicines
  • wet wipes and facial tissues

What NOT to flush

Only flush the 3Ps - pee, poo and toilet paper.

Every fortnight over four tonnes, about the size of an African elephant, of wet wipes are removed from Yarra Valley Water’s sewerage network because they have been wrongly flushed into the system.

Wet wipes are a mammoth issue, with over 100 tonnes needing to be removed each year with some causing blockages that can cost up to $1,000 a time to clear. While some of these products claim to be flushable, they may not be and customers should be mindful of what is flushed down the toilet. The best option is to put the wet wipes into the bin.

We also suggest you follow these handy hints:

  • Use a sink strainer to prevent food scraps and other household waste, from going down the drain. Consider using a compost heap to dispose of food scraps.
  • Pour kitchen fats and oils into a container; seal it and throw it in the bin.
  • Wipe greasy pots and pans with a paper towel before washing.
  • Dispose of items such as cotton buds, nappies, condoms, sanitary products and their wrappers in the household rubbish.
  • Use less detergent. The average household uses three times more detergent than manufacturers recommend.
  • Choose a washing detergent with a low salt content. Concentrated detergents often contain much less salt than conventional varieties.
  • Ask your local pharmacy or council for advice on how to dispose of medicines and hazardous chemicals.

What happens if they do go into the system?

These products can cause:

  • damaged pipes
  • blocked pipes which may impact your property or your neighbour's property
  • harm to the environment.

Where can I dispose of liquid waste?

You can take your household chemical products to a permanent or mobile drop-off point, where they will be collected and safely disposed of. 

For more information call Sustainability Victoria on 1800 353 233 or visit the Sustainability Victoria website.

Where do I dispose of motor oil?

Used motor oil should be stored in an appropriate container and taken to your local oil collection facility so it can be cleaned and re-used. 

Have you noticed suspicious disposal activities?

If you notice any suspicious activities, such as the discharge of illegal substances please contact Yarra Valley Water on 13 2762 immediately so that we may prevent damage to the sewerage system and manage any risks to public and environmental health.

More information

Download and keep this info sheet handy or share with others.

Download What Can Go Down the Drain info sheet

Download Info Sheet in Arabic

Download Info Sheet in Chinese

Download Info Sheet in Italian

Close menu