Five World Water Day Tips to Protect the World’s Most Precious Resource

03/22/10  • Water

Veolia Water North America Offers Public Ways to be "Wastewater Smart"

CHICAGO, March 22, 2010 – In honor of World Water Day, Veolia Water North America, the world's leading provider of comprehensive water and wastewater partnership services to municipal and industrial customers, is thinking wastewater.

Every day, billions of gallons of wastewater are treated at facilities throughout the United States for return to the environment or for reuse. This includes shower water, pharmaceuticals, rainwater, cigarette butts, grease and other items not stated in polite company, and it's all a critical part of keeping our cities functioning.
In recognition of today's international observance of World Water Day, Veolia Water North America offers the following five tips to help consumers lessen their impact on our nation's wastewater infrastructure.
  1. Recycle or throw away unused medication and personal care products - don't flush them. Return unused medications to the pharmacy or mix them with coffee grounds, seal them in a plastic bag and dispose in the trash. Some communities have collection days, and it's best to contact the local municipality for dates and times. Similarly, do not use the toilet to dispose of lotions and cosmetics.
  2. Participate in or start a Household Hazardous Waste Day. Many communities sponsor a hazardous waste collection day and have schedules posted on-line. Find information online or contact the city or county agency for more details or to propose a collection day in your community.
  3. Reconsider flushing "flushable" wipes and similarly labeled items. Toilet paper is designed to dissolve in water, but many flushable wipes do not dissolve and can cause clogging. To best aid our water infrastructure, try bagging the wipes and disposing of them in a trash bin. Throw away - don't flush - facial tissue and paper towel too.
  4. Avoid washing kitchen grease down the drain. You already know what grease can do to arteries, but did you know it can do the same to sewer pipes? Dispose of kitchen grease in the trash.
  5. Install low-flush toilets. Consider replacing toilets with low flush models that can drastically reduce the amount of wastewater entering a city system. Look for water-saving shower heads too. Saving water not only reduces water bills, it means less water in the wastewater stream. Some communities, like Palm Springs, California, offer low-flush toilet rebate programs as incentives.
 "World Water Day presents a great opportunity to remind people about the importance of wastewater services when it comes to water resources," said Philip Ashcroft, chief municipal operations officer at Veolia Water North America. "There are many things we can all do to help make a difference. By taking steps to prevent harmful and damaging waste from entering the wastewater stream, Americans can conserve water, reduce energy consumption and lessen the impacts on water infrastructure."

For an interactive graphic that explains the full water cycle, including the operations of a wastewater treatment plant, please see

Based in Chicago, Veolia Water North America is the leading provider of comprehensive water and wastewater partnership services to municipal and industrial customers, providing services to more than 14 million people in approximately 650 North American communities. The company is part of the Veolia Environnement companies in North America, with 30,000 North American employees providing sustainable environmental solutions in water management, waste services, energy management, and passenger transportation.

Veolia Water, the water division of Veolia Environnement, is the world leader in water and wastewater services and technological solutions. Its parent company, Veolia Environnement (NYSE: VE and Paris Euronext: VIE), is the worldwide reference in environmental services. With more than 336,000 employees, Veolia Environnement recorded annual revenues of $50 billion in 2008. Veolia Environnement is in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) and Dow Jones STOXX Sustainability Index (DJSI STOXX). Visit the company's Web sites at and
Matt Demo
Veolia North America
312.552.2887 (office)
312.316.9281 (cell)