Questions and Answers - Water and Sewer

What if my basement is flooded with sewage water? 
Checklist if you experience basement flooding caused by the municipal pipe network:

- Call the SOS number 112 for emergency draining of the basement. Daytime you should also call the Water and Sewer work, phone number: 81 000 to find the cause of the flooding and assess what needs to be done to avoid any problems in the future.
- Contact your insurance company
- Write down where the flooding started and at what time. 


What happens to grease from cooking when it ends up in sewer pipes?
If you want to avoid drain-blockage, avoid pouring cooking oil or grease down the drain. The grease might be liquid when dishing for example a frying pan, but when poured down the drain it solidifies. It is beneficial to wipe the grease from the frying pan with some paper towels which are then thrown in the bin. When the sewage water cools of, this causes the grease to solidify and the solidified grease will clog the drains and sewage stations. Clogged up drains can cause basement floodings which are both unpleasant and expensive. 


Why is the tap water brown or turbid?
Sometimes the tap water is brown or yellow. This is caused by rapid water streams in the pipes that can occur during water leaks and when filling pools, that makes the coating that has formed inside the pipes over the years to be grated away.

Let the water run for 15 minutes and contact the municipality if the water still is not clear after 15 minutes. Brown water is not dangerous, merely unappetizing but it is a technical fault that needs to be fixed.
Sometimes the water is white or grey when tapped. After a couple of minutes the water becomes clear again. The white-grey water is most common during the winter when the water coming from the water plant is at its coldest. The white water is caused by air in the water that creates microbubbles when the water is tapped. So the water is completely harmless!

Does it matter how you wash your car?
The best way to wash your car is to wash it in an automatic car wash that is equipped with a suitable wastewater plant. Never wash your car on the street or on asphalted grounds. The wastewater will then go down the drain and end up in the nearest watercourse.  The wastewater contains harmful chemicals and pollutants, such as asphalt and oil residues, but also different kinds of heavy metals that are not biodegradable. 

If you do not have possibility to wash your car in a car wash facility then remember to wash your car on grass or gravel. The wastewater will then be absorbed by the ground. 


What should I do with leftover paint?  
Leftover paint can be submitted to certain paint stores, otherwise it should be submitted to the recycling center. It is NOT permitted to wash the paint down the drain!
Cleaning brushes from solvent based paint: try to get most of the paint of the brush by stroking the brush on a paper and dip the brush in a can of solvent naphtha. Keep the solvent naphtha in the can with the lid on it, it can be used several times. When the naphtha becomes too dirty – leave it to the paint store or the recycling center.
Water-based paint: Stroke as much of the excess paint of on some newspaper or some lining paper. You can throw the paint-paper in the bin. You can then wash the brushes in some water in a can or a jar. Let the jar be for a couple of days so that the paint settles at the bottom of the jar.  When the paint has settled at the bottom of the jar, gently poor the clear water out.  


Do we have soft or hard water in Karlshamn?
The water’s hardness is measured in the German degrees dH and in the most part of Karlshamn’s municipality the water’s hardness ranges between 4,2-4,5 dH and in Ringamåla it is 2,5-30 dH and in both cases the water is assessed as soft. The water’s hardness is a measurement of the amount of calcium and magnesium ions in the water. The less ions, the softer the water. 

What is positive with the fact that Karlshamn has soft water is that you do not need to use as much detergent or dish soap. See the detergent packaging for more precise information.
However in Björkenäs, that get its water from Sölvesborg’s municipality, the hardness is 12-14 dH, which is assessed as hard water. 

 

What should you not flush down the toilet?
You should avoid to flush down cotton swabs, hair, sanitary pads, tampons, articles of clothing, diapers, condoms, paper towels or cotton balls. Many operational problems occur when various objects are flushed down the toilet.

 

Are artists’ colors environmentally harmful?
Artists’ colors that have the word cadmium in the colors name, for example cadmium-yellow, might contain as much as 45% of the environmentally harmful heavy metal. If cadmium is poured down the drain the cadmium will end up in nature. Some of the cadmium ends up in the sludge from the treatment plant that is used as a fertilizer on farmlands. The rest of the cadmium goes straight into the Karlshamn’s bay or Mörrum’s stream. 

Here are some tips on how to avoid the cadmium from leaking out into the drain. There are many different kinds of colors’ to choose between. If it says hue, sub, or imit after the colors’ name then the color contains no cadmium. If you still want to use color that contains cadmium you can still make a big difference for the environment by wiping the color of your hands before washing them. Wipe the paint residue of the brushes as much as possible and then clean them in a jar of solvent or water, then wipe them once more before you clean them under running water. The solvent is classified as dangerous waste and should be disposed of properly, do not poor it into the drain. Leave the solvent and empty tubes, cleaning cloths and paint residue to the nearest recycling center. Label the waste with “Cadmium-containing waste”. 

Is it dangerous to drink warm tap water?
The municipality only provides cold water. The water heater belongs to the property owner. Warm water is not a provision and should therefore not be drunk or used for cooking. There is a risk that the warm water contains heavy metals, especially copper. 

Small children are especially sensitive to copper. Never make babyfood or baby formula using warm tap water, always heat the cold tap water up.
Avoid the risk of Legionella (Legionnaire’s disease that is a form of pneumonia). Legionella-bacteria might start growing in still water that holds a temperature of 20-50°C.  

  • Publicerat: 2016-05-16 av emma.pigney@karlshamn.se
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