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Austin Water responds to funeral homes flushing blood, liquids down the drain without permits

Running water
Posted at 8:35 PM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 21:55:12-04

The City of Austin’s water and wastewater utility released a statement after several reports claimed funeral homes were flushing blood and embalming fluids down the drain without permits.

The utility returns wastewater to the Colorado River. It serves over 1,000,000 people across 548 square miles, according to its website; and its two water treatment plants generate wastewater into high-quality effluent, of which over a billion gallons are reclaimed every year.

"Recent stories in the media have covered funeral home practices of flushing blood and embalming fluids down the drain and into the sanitary sewer system," said the provider. "While regulations and permitting exist at the State and local level for these activities we want to assure you that your drinking water is safe."

Austin Water said the blood and other fluids that are being poured down the drain are going through a process that is completely separate and distinct from drinking water.

"Fluids poured down a drain go directly to wastewater treatment plants and are not part of the drinking water system," said the release. "Our wastewater treatment includes disinfection, which kills microorganisms before the cleaned water, known as effluent, is safely returned to the Lower Colorado River."