Don't flush gas, Met Council warns after U of M sewer explosion

Don't flush gas or other flammable materials down the toilet. 

This is the message from the Metropolitan Council on Friday after sewer explosions forced evacuations at the University of Minnesota on Thursday

The Met Council says it is monitoring conditions across the sanitary sewer system and at the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant on Friday after the explosion on campus. 

"It is a stark reminder that the only thing that should go down the sewer besides human waste is toilet paper," Met Council said in a news release. "The Metropolitan Council, and its Environmental Services division, is warning residents, businesses, and industries not to put gas or other flammable materials down the sewer."

The Met Council's Environmental Services team was on the scene of the U of M explosion to help assess what caused it. The Met Council says the explosion is believed to have been caused by a release of gasoline into the sanitary sewer system. 

"City and regional sanitary sewers are both located in the vicinity of the explosion. Officials say the city sanitary sewer is about 15 to 20 feet below ground and the regional sanitary sewer interceptor pipe is about 70 feet down. At one point the sewage flow merges and makes its way to the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant in St. Paul," the release said. 

The incident remains under investigation. If anyone in the area smells gas odors, they should call 911. 

Don't put these items down the toilet

The Metropolitan Council says the following items should not be flushed or put down the drain

  • Wipes (even if they are labeled "flushable," they do not break down)
  • Tissues and paper towels
  • Dental floss
  • Tampons and sanitary pads
  • Clumping cat litter
  • Condoms
  • Oil-based hand scrubs
  • Cotton swabs and cotton balls
  • Medicines
  • Rags
  • Oil or grease