Twin Cities Homeowners and Business Owners: Stop before Pouring those Chemicals

Every day individuals pour chemicals down their sink drains and many of them experience a number of issues. While those issues do not always immediately happen, they will develop over time from pouring chemicals down the drain. Even unclogging the drain with chemicals may not be the answer to the problem.

As a Minneapolis drain cleaning company, we know the right way to unclog a drain. What we do know is that pouring chemicals down the drain will cause a more serious problem with the drain later on. Hazardous materials also find their way into your septic system, which can cause a septic issue, or they can make their way into the municipal sewer system.

If you have a septic system, wastewater from the home goes into the tank that is buried underground. The solids that settle out decompose to an extent. The remaining wastewater then travels to a drain field where natural processes in the ground will fully break down the waste. If there are chemicals in the wastewater, the toxicity of those chemicals can kill the beneficial bacteria and this will cause the system to fail. There are some toxic materials that move through soil unchanged or untreated. When this happens, the surface or ground water can become contaminated.

For example, aerosol paint products and many types of paint removers contain methylene chloride. This is a chemical that can survive the processes within the septic system, which means they do not break down at all. Chlorine bleach can also pass completely through the septic system and never break down. When chlorine comes into contact with certain types of organic matter, new toxic chemicals can be formed and they can be harmful to people and the environment.

If your home is connected to the municipal sewer system, your wastewater travels along pipes to the sewage plant. It is here that the sewage is treated and then it is discharged into the nearby lakes, rivers, or steams. Sewage treatment plants rely on specific organisms and bacteria to break down the waste naturally. There are some types of household waste that can pass through the system and pollute the bodies of water in the area.

Now that you know what chemicals poured down the drain can do to the environment, what does it do to the plumbing?

In homes and businesses in Minneapolis, we have seen plumbing corroded because of chemicals that were flushed or poured down a drain. Over time, the chemicals may collect in the trap and this will release fumes that can be harmful. The label on the chemical’s bottle or its MSDS will specify how the chemical should be handled and disposed of. That way drains are not corroded and dangerous situations can be avoided inside and out.