Clogged bowls a wipe­out


Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Ian Pater­son Is there an in­crease in peo­ple us­ing wipes? @the­druitt

MEN are cre­at­ing “fat­bergs” that are threat­en­ing to de­stroy the area’s sew­er­age sys­tem as they search for that fresh bath­room feel­ing.

Syd­ney Wa­ter has warned the alarm­ing rise in the num­ber of Pen­rith lo­cal gov­ern­ment area res­i­dents us­ing wet wipes to pam­per their be­hinds could crip­ple the ar­eas sew­ers.

Syd­ney Wa­ter man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Kevin Young said wet wipes cost taxpayers statewide $8 mil­lion ev­ery year to clear the block­ages.

“Wet wipes may flush and clear your toi­let bowl. How­ever they can com­bine with fats and oils and other things that shouldn’t be flushed into big, con­gealed clumps - or ‘fat­bergs’ in the sewer,” Mr Young said.

A sur­vey con­ducted by Syd­ney Wa­ter re­vealed that one in four peo­ple in the Pen­rith LGA ad­mit­ted they pre­ferred to use wet wipes over tra­di­tional toi­let pa­per.

While women were buy­ing the wet wipes, the main of­fend­ers indulging in the prac­tice were men aged 15 to 44, who said they pre­ferred the tex­ture of the wet wipes.

“Around 75 per cent of Syd­ney’s sewer block­ages in­volve flushed wet wipes, which of­ten need to be cleared by hand by Syd­ney Wa­ter staff,” Mr Young said.

“Many cus­tomers have told us that based on the ‘flush­able’ la­belling of wipes, they thought it was OK to flush.”

The St Marys wa­ter re­cy­cling plant is the largest plant dis­charg­ing wa­ter in to the Hawkes­bury and Ne- pean River and has a catch­ment 84 km2 area bounded by Cam­bridge Park, Wer­ring­ton Downs, Black­ett, Mt Druitt, Minch­in­bury and St Clair. It ser­vices a pop­u­la­tion of about 160,000.

Mr Young said com­pa­nies mar­ket­ing prod­ucts as “flush­able” cre­ated con­fu­sion and called for leg­is­la­tion for more ac­cu­rate advertising on the prod­ucts.

“Be­ing flush­able should not sim­ply mean that it (wet wipes) can get past the ‘S’ bend of a toi­let. It also needs to break down and dis­perse within sec­onds or it risks get­ting stuck. Res­i­dents have used the prod­ucts only to be hit with plumb­ing bills rang­ing from $1000 to $3500 to re­move block­ages in their drains,” he said.

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