Clogged bowls a wipeout
WET WIPES IN TOILETS BLOCKING SEWERAGE SYSTEMS
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.