To Flush or Not to Flush, That is the Question

To Flush, or Not to Flush, That is the Question


Can this be flushed? If you are asking the question, then the answer is no.  

We have had some questions on our trolley tours regarding what can and cannot be flushed. Now we all know this is a stinky subject, but it is important for everyone to have this information. In trying to prevent clogs, backups, and issues at the Water Reclamation Facility, we put together a list of things that should NEVER be flushed.

Even though some products like wipes, kitty litter, and baby diapers say that they can be flushed, DO NOT flush them! These products are meant to absorb water and do not break down. The rule of thumb is the 4 ‘P’s: poop, pee, puke, and (toilet) paper. Everything else will cause issues with plumbing and can cause obstructions in the sewer system.

One of the major hazards that the Water Reclamation Facility is trying to educate the public about is flushable wipes – they aren’t flushable. They do not break down, can cluster together and sometimes get tied together, and get caught in the grates at the Water Reclamation Facility causing clogs and backups.

Another concern is Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) from Food Service Establishments as well as home owners. Fats, Oils, and Grease stick to the sides of pipes and start to build up over time causing blockages in the system. Blockages of any kind can result in pipes bursting, backups or overflows into local waterways.

To help with disposal of things that are used in the bathroom, it is advised to have a waste basket for easy use.

To recycle used motor oil and other automotive fluids, use Earth911 to find recycling locations closest to you. You can choose which fluid you would like to recycle, and the search will give you specific places for them. Many auto parts stores will accept motor oil and others including transmission fluid, brake fluid, and antifreeze.

It is also extremely important to not pour or flush medications down the drain. Water Treatment Facilities are not equipped to remove the chemicals found in medications, which equates to contaminated local water supplies. These medications also impact aquatic life when the water is returned to rivers and lakes. Not only are residents drinking this water but so are all other living things, including pets, farm animals and crops.

Unused medications can be brought to Walgreens, CVS, and RiteAid locations with disposal bins as well as a few other pharmacies. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration also hosts the National Prescription Drug Take-Back events that include police stations and health departments.

Another resource for recycling is the ReWorks Recycling Center, which is located in Stow. This facility has a long list of products that they recycle and are dedicated in keeping household hazardous waste out of landfills. This is a free service to Summit County residents and more information can be found on their website:

In the end, the only things that should ever be flushed is human waste and toilet paper. Everything else should be kept out of the toilet or any other drains and thrown away or recycled.


Here is a list of items that you may not realize cannot be flushed:

  • Cotton balls and swabs
    To Flush Or Not To Flush That Is The Question
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Mini or maxi pads
  • Tampons and applicators
  • Cleaning wipes of any kind
  • Dental floss
  • Disposable diapers
  • Bandages or gauze
  • Automotive fluids
  • Paint, solvents, sealants, or thinners
  • Unused medications
  • Fats, Oils, Grease
  • Flushable kitty litter
  • Fish for a funeral
  • Pet poop
  • Cigarette butts
  • Contact lenses
  • Chemicals of any kind

AASEP STEM Fest 2018-2019

All-Akron Student Engineering Program finishes the year off with the spring STEM Fest!

Students were assigned to respective companies for their internships! Prior to the announcement, students participated in a series of activities designed to give them tools to succeed in the workplace. The sessions were conducted by Women in Engineering speakers Bonnie Teeuwen of Osborn Architects & Engineers and Alexis Killinger of DLZ Ohio, Inc., “Know Your Value”.  Heidi Cressman from the University of Akron conducted a workshop on “Coded Language”; and EbaNee Bond from the University of Akron Research Foundation reviewed the semester’s teachings in a workshop entitled “What Did You Hear? 

For more information visit our AASEP page

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Practice Makes Perfect

The All-Akron Student Engineering Program met for the third workshop of the 2018-2019 school year! 

Students had time to practice a bit more in the morning before presenting their one-minute speeches about who they are and why they are looking for an internship. The participating firms were extremely impressed with how well the students presented themselves during each speech and even more so during the networking event afterwards. Lunch was catered for the workshop, including cupcakes and a special AASEP cake. 

For more information visit our AASEP page


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Improving Character and My Future

Improving Character and My Future

By: Aaron Brown

Aaron Brown

During All-Star Weekend, I had the opportunity to serve the LeBron James Family Foundation as a 330 Ambassador with community service and professional development in Charlotte, North Carolina. The goal of All-Star Weekend is to recognize a city that needs help in the community and school systems and turn it around with service from Akron students. Each year a new city is chosen to host All-Star Weekend to help the residents start living a normal life again.

This year, we provided Charlotte’s residents love through working with Samaritan’s Feet to provide 400 pairs of brand-new shoes to students at a school called the Movement School, similar to the I Promise School. There we engaged with the students through washing their feet and having empowering conversations with the mindset that they need clean feet & a happy attitude for them to really enjoy having new shoes that are from LeBron. This was also possible through our XBOX 2K foundation friends who sponsored most of the shoes.

Aaron Brown_2

In addition, we had the chance to participate in a panel discussion and tour with the Carolina Panther’s behind-the-scenes team, who are the driving forces to successful football. With a lawyer, reporters, operation managers, and communication experts in the room, we as 330 Ambassadors heard their stories of climbing the corporate ladder through grit and to remember to always be “unapologetically to yourself.” I remember profoundly one woman saying that “chances are just luck, timing, and God’s grace” which reminds me to not just let an opportunity go - grab it and showcase my grit. However, the main focal point of it all is when the equipment manager spoke how he used to “fold over 800 towels a day” and someone else made the clear distinction that everyone has those days before they made it big.


The experience is not just a trip for us to enjoy, it is a mission to employ our newfound lessons to the work being done in Akron with the I Promise School and the Embassy, our own space for mentoring students in the school. After the trip, I felt empowered to keep moving forward with every commitment I engage in because these programs will and has already improved my character and my future. Connecting it with AASEP, I thought about my role as a ‘non-engineering yet love engineering’ student in a firm. My goal has always been to be a member of the design process and the ‘business side of the house’ ensuring the project is effectively & efficiently being marketed to consumers. Through All-Star weekend, it cemented that the networking and communications skills of individuals are essential to success and firms will always need someone like me to coordinate their activities in the mindset of the consumer.

The reason I joined AASEP is for the transferrable skills that STEM principles emphasize. Yet, I know I have a lot to showcase outside of the engineering sphere with my background in education, communications, and business. Moving forward into a firm, I want to demonstrate a different perspective to the whole mix of engineers that may enlighten their thought-processes. LJFF has made me clear of my direction and AASEP will provide the tools to present it. All-Star Weekend with the LeBron James Family Foundation was an opportunity to professionally and personally develop through community action, 21st-century skill improving sessions, and bridging the experience to impacting Akron to be a stronger & striving community for all.


Putting Your Best Foot Forward

While the All-Akron Student Engineering Program started the second STEM Workshop with learning how to put their best foot forward! 

Food etiquette, professional business wear, and displaying your personal brand were the classes for the day. The importance of showing who you are in a professional manner! There was also a discussion panel during lunch with recent graduates and current students. This allowed the AASEP students to ask questions about college, internships, and future jobs.

See more pictures on our AASEP page


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Starting the year off for AASEP

The All-Akron Student Engineering Program start the 2018-2019 year off with the First Student Workshop! 

Students participate in a Writing Workshop, learn their spirit animals to better work together in groups, and work to create presentations about fission and fusion with other students and engineers from First Engergy. A winner for the best presentation is chosen and each team member awarded a gift card! 


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Exposure to Engineering

Exposure to Engineering

By: Mark J. Buchenic

Vice President - PRIME AE Group, Inc. 


The Akron Student Engineering Program proved to be an effective way to expose high school students to field of engineering prior to college.  PRIME AE worked with the student John Vang.  John was exposed to various tasks and experiences in water/wastewater branch of civil engineering.  John learned about how sewer collection systems are assessed for rehabilitation by reviewing pipeline interior inspection videos and conducting field observations of sewer manholes.  I believe John was given a glimpse into the world of civil engineering where he can further his interest in the field.  Unfortunately, we do not have good pictures.

Better Equipped for My Future

Better Equipped for My Future

By Jose Miller Heisler

When my engineering teacher Coach Griffith first introduced me to this program and told me what this program is about, I thought that it would be the perfect thing for me. It paired me up with Welty Construction Co. based off my interests with construction and engineering, which ended up being what I think was a perfect fit. When I first walked into their office I was scared and anxious that they would look down on me or just give me busy work because I was just some kid walking into their office, but boy was I wrong. They were probably one of the kindest and most welcoming people that I have met. They made me feel at home and then handed me a very well put together packet that listed what I would do for my whole stay there.

My favorite part about this is that it wasn't set in stone, they made it flexible so that I would be able to do this what interested me more and remove things that didn't. They showed me every single department that they had and made sure to explain everything clearly and made sure that I understood it, taking time to let me ask questions and take notes. During my stay there, they taught me many things ranging from onsite safety to the need of diversity in the workplace.

They not only taught me about their workplace but also about life. Talking to the many people there helped me find out that mechanical engineering was the degree that I was looking for. Every day was a new and exciting experience there and overall, I loved the whole thing. I learned many things that I would otherwise would not have if I hadn't been a part of this program. With this experience I think that it has truly better equipped me for my future in the field of engineering as well as in life overall.

Networking and Patience is Key

Networking and Patience is Key

By Kareemat Melaiye

Through this program, I got the opportunity to have a two-week internship at an environmental engineering company called Cosmos Technologies. The CEO of the company is Mr. Frederick Douglas and he took time out of his busy schedule to teach me about what his company does and what my tasks were. I was a research intern and had to search for proposal and grant opportunities while also looking for potential business partners. I quickly realized that the difficult part wasn't reaching out to these contacts but hearing back from them. I had to call these contacts consistently and send them emails to try and get a response from them.

Even researching wasn't as simple as I thought it would be. For example, I was told to look for underground deep well injection sites and get their contact information, however, it was difficult to find the location of the injection sites and I had to contact the EPA for a list of the sites. It took up until the last day of my internship to get those lists.

Regardless, I had a nice experience and learned tips from Mr. Douglas on running a business. I learned that networking and patience is very important when running a company because the result may not come as quick as you think it would be. This program also helped me show others who I am and what I am capable of, rather than them assuming my skills and personality based on my appearance. Hopefully in the future, employers will be open to hiring more minorities into their companies. I really had a good experience with this program and would like to participate in it again.

Show me the ropes

Show me the ropes

By Gwendalyn Jenkins

During my time at CTI Engineers I learned how to survey elevation of a certain area by taking a previous elevation and using a rod ruler and a leveled scope. Elevation surveying is simple. First, you must have an elevation to start off with, so we used manholes for this because all elevations are already mapped out. We took the rod and put it on the manhole and put the leveled scope far away enough that we can see the manhole and see the point we wanted to measure. Once we get the measurement, we write it down before moving on. After, we put the measuring rod on the spot we want to measure, then we use the scope to get the number of our new elevation, accounting for the height of the scope of course.

I also got to learn about waste treatment facilities and how they function to make our waste water clean. First in the pretreatment phase, the facility rakes out all the big materials in the water. Then, they go to primary treatment which uses gravity to allow the particles to go to the bottom of the tank, also using surface skimmers to get the grease and oil off the top. In secondary treatment, microorganisms are used to break down the organic material still in the water. Lastly, the facility treats the sludge, or organic materials that they took out of the water, which farmers can use for fertilizer for their plants.

Also, while at CTI Engineers, I learned a great deal about civil engineering. My company specialized in water treatment facilities, so I also learned a bunch about those too. I learned about the inner workings of redesigning a water treatment facility and about each individual role in that redesigning. I got to meet all the people in the Akron branch of CTI Engineers and what role they play in the company. I also attended a couple of meetings and learned more about how people reason through problems together.

Overall, this was a really great experience and I really learned a lot. There are a lot of things that I did not know anything about before doing this internship. I loved meeting all the people involved, and they were all really welcoming. Rick Reed and David Kohlmeier were both great at showing us the ropes and giving us interesting projects to participate in. Given the chance I would do it again.