SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Springfield Environmental Services has their very own Sewer Santa.

Although he puts on the Santa hat this time of the year to raise awareness about sewer maintenance and keep the sewer system flowing, Mike DeLong’s job is year-round. He is the wastewater collection system superintendent for the City of Springfield.

Sewer Santa brought some presents that can be helpful to all homeowners.

The Springfield Environmental Services says a bathroom trash can and grease can lid can help you avoid clogged sewer pipes and costly repairs.

Sewer Santa says nothing but human waste and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet. Everything else should go into your bathroom trash can.

Sanitary items and especially “flushable wipes” are harmful to your plumbing and can cause clogs in your private lateral pipes, which can in turn cause backups into your house and can also cause significant issues in the City’s sewer mains.

A grease lid can help you properly dispose of fats, oils, and grease (or FOG) by pouring them in a can or jar and throwing them in the trash.

FOG from your kitchen can combine with other items in our sewers to create giant fat clogs that can cause significant sewage backups and damage.

Environmental Services strongly recommends you reach out to the licensed plumber to schedule an inspection of your home’s lateral pipes. Inspections are generally low cost compared to the issues you can avoid and run around $100.

Secret Santa encourages you to have a plumber use a camera to inspect your pipes and let you know if there are any issues or any upcoming maintenance you might be responsible for in the coming year.

If all of the above fail – use a plunger! But you don’t want to let it get to that point – especially when you have a full house on Christmas!

The City’s Environmental Services says all of these tips can help homeowners avoid issues and costs at home. Still, they help keep the City’s sanitary sewer system flowing and help protect the water quality of streams and rivers by helping reduce sanitary sewer overflows.

To learn more tips to use year-round, visit www.springfieldmo.gov/sewersanta