Sewer System Do's & Don'ts

Your tax dollars support the city’s sewerage system at a cost of over $18 million a year. Homeowners also bear an additional expense for their own sewer lines. These lines generally run from the residence to the city right-of-way.

See Where does it go after it leaves the sink?—How the sewer system works.

There are several ways that you can help all of us prevent blockages in both of our sewer systems.


Do dispose of medications properly:

  • Twice a year the Newport News Police Department holds a Drug Take Back day. Medications can be dropped off at certain Police Stations on that day, or visit U.S. Department of Justice Diversion Control Division to find a drop off location near you.
  • If you are unable to make it to the Drug Take Back day, you can dispose of medications at home. Both the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Attorney General’s Office provide guideline for proper medication disposal
  • Do avoid release of hair into drains of showers, bath tubs and wash basins to prevent clogs in the traps and drains.
  • Do limit the amount of milk products you pour down the drain. While not directly related to stoppages, milk creates a high oxygen demand to decompose causing environmental issue for streams and aquatic life.


  • Don’t use the toilet as a trash can! Never flush diapers, dental floss, Q-Tips, personal sanitary products, newspapers, soiled rags, or paper towels down toilets or drains. These items may cause a stoppage in your line.
  • Don’t ever flush wipes. Even wipes that claim to be “flushable” can clog pipes and cause stoppages. This is what happens when you flush wipes!

Wise use of the sewerage system and performance of simple preventive maintenance will help safeguard the system and reduce costs for everyone.