Defend Your Drains

Trash It. Don’t Flush It.

Wipes, cleaning cloths, paper towels, feminine hygiene products and personal care items don’t break down in the sewer pipes of your home. They can tangle and clump, clogging pipes and causing sewage backups and costly plumbing bills.

Dispose Responsibly - Protect our Water Quality

What not to flush:

Defend Your Drains logo

Cleaners, Chemicals & Paint

Leftover cleaners, insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers, paints and other chemicals are considered Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) and should never be disposed of through your drains. These chemicals are difficult and expensive to remove from the water and could damage your pipes. Neither should they be placed in your general trash. These substances can still potentially get washed into our waterways from the landfill.  


Paint and paint remover should never be poured down the drain, a toilet or placed in the trash.


Fats, Oils and Grease

These items can cause your sewer lines to back up if poured down the drain. Put small amounts in the trash and schedule an HHW pick-up for large amounts such as turkey frying oil.


  • Meat
  • Cooking oil
  • Shortening
  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • Baked goods
  • Sauces 
  • Dairy Products
  • Icing
  • Salsa and sour cream
  • Chicken stock
  • Batter
  • Ice cream
  • Gravy
  • Dough

Why Should You Care?

  • Expensive plumbing repairs - not only are sewer backups unpleasant, they are expensive and unsanitary.
  • Costs to the city - fats, oils and grease clog the city’s sewer system. Repairs are costly and ultimately cost you, the taxpayer.

What You Can Do

  • Let fats, oils and grease cool to room temperature in pots and pans. Then pour it into a container and throw the container away in the trash.
  • Before you wash pots and pans, wipe up the fats, oil and grease with a paper towel and throw it away in the trash.
  • For large amounts of fats, oils or grease, schedule a HHW pick-up.



Proper Disposal of Prescriptions & Over-the-Counter Drugs

Do NOT flush or pour unwanted, unused or expired medications down the drain. 

This includes expired and unused prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. 


Why Should You Care?

  • Flushed medications can get into our lakes, rivers and streams. 
  • Research has shown that continuous exposure to low levels of medications has altered the behavior and physiology of fish and aquatic organisms. 
  • Pharmaceuticals enter our wastewater from a variety of sources, including the flushing of unused medications. 

Long-term exposure to low levels of antibiotics might result in the evolution of, or selection for, drug-resistant microbes and bacteria.

What You Can Do

  • The Police Department hosts a Drug Take-Back event twice a year, usually in April and September.
  • For year-round disposal, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) compliant drug take back receptacles are located at the following locations:
    • Walgreen’s Pharmacy located at 1651 W. University Dr. in McKinney. 
    • Medical City McKinney located at 4500 Medical Center Dr. in McKinney.


Wipes Block Everything

Wipes are great for dirty hands, counters and baby bottoms, but not good for plumbing. They are designed to hold together and not break down like toilet paper, which means they don’t break down, they can become tangled and caught in home plumbing or the sewer system. 

Wipes Block Everything Opens in new window

Why Should You Care?

  • Tangled wipes can block your home plumbing, causing expensive and unpleasant plumbing issues.
  • The city sewer system can become blocked and cause issues that are expensive for the city to clear. Additional costs ultimately pass down to residents. 

What You Can Do

  • Line bathroom trash cans with a plastic grocery bag and throw used wipes in the trash instead of flushing them.
  • Place used baby wipes into the soiled diaper, wrap up clean-side-out and put in the trash.
  • Put used wipes in small pet waste bags.