Protect your pipes

You might not realise it, but what you flush down your toilet and rinse down your sink can have a big impact on your home's pipes and our pipes. If you have a pressure sewer system can see this impact very quickly.

Solid items in the drain can cause really bad blockages, harm the environment and the health of our pipe workers. It can also mean expensive repair costs for you to fix your damaged pipes and pressure sewer pumps.

What not to put down the toilet or sink

Scraps, fats and oils

While they might go down the sink in liquid form, food scraps, fats and oils can quickly turn to solids in the pipes which cause blockages – either in your home, business or on your street.

So, next time you’re cleaning up from a delicious meal, think at the sink before pouring food scraps, fats or oils down the drain. The best way to get rid of a small amount of scraps, fats and oils is to let the oil cool, wipe it up with a paper towel, and then put it in your bin.

For a larger amount of oil, you can let it cool, pour it into a container and take it to your nearest waste and recycling facility (tip).

Wipes – even the ‘flushable ones

Makeup wipes, baby wipes and even wipes labelled as ‘flushable’ don’t break down in the sewer,  causing plenty of blockages and damage to our sewerage system and pump stations.

Place all wipes in the bin, not your toilet.

Paints and chemicals

Paints, pesticides and chemicals cannot only turn into a solid, but they also make for a dangerous combination in the sewer.

Personal items

Solid items such as tampons and sanitary items, cotton buds, nappies, razor blades, syringes and condoms don’t break down in the sewer and can also cause blockages, no matter how big  or small they are.

Make sure syringes are disposed of in a disposal container, and put all other items in the bin.

Prevent tree-root damage to pipes

Did you know that tree roots are responsible for lots of Melbourne's sewer and drain blockages? Not only that, they can also damage buildings, footpaths, fences and pipes.

Avoid damage to your home's pipes by taking care when selecting trees and deciding where to plant them. View the 'Tree roots: a growing problem' fact sheet for information (PDF, 4.3Mb) on which tree varieties need to be planted a safe distance from your pipes.

Top tips for protecting your pipes

  • Wipe your pots and pans with a paper towel before rinsing to help remove excess grease.

  • Collect cooled oil and put it in the bin.
  • Keep paint, pesticides and chemicals in their original containers and contact your local council or Sustainability Victoria for collection and disposal advice.
  • Instead of rinsing scraps off your plate, scrape them into the bin or compost. 
  • Use a sink strainer to reduce the risk of a blocked sink or sewer.
  • Dispose of syringes by calling DirectLine, the confidential alcohol and drug counselling referral line, to request a disposal container on 1800 888 236.

Top tips in Easy English


If English isn't your first language, our Easy English guide to what you can put in your sink and toilet can help.