Wet wipes a scourge of plumbers

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

Steve War­ren is not a fan of wet wipes in his line of work.

The Ti­tahi Bay plumber said he re­paired a block­age once a week as a re­sult of wet wipes or Handee tow­els be­ing flushed down a toi­let.

They ei­ther don’t make it out of the house’s sys­tem or cause a prob­lem some­where else down the line, he said.

There is a mis­con­cep­tion wet wipes and Handee tow­els break up – they don’t.

‘‘Peo­ple don’t re­alise what trou­ble wet wipes can cause,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s prob­a­bly 10 per cent of my work, fix­ing up the prob­lems and block­ages they cause. They’re not dis­pos­able and they’re not soft.’’

War­ren, a plumber for 46 years, said dis­pos­ing of items down the toi­let had be­come more of a prob­lem in the past 20 years, as peo­ple moved to dis­pos­able nap­pies and wet wipes be­came more com­mon­place.

He said the blame could be laid at the feet of the ‘‘throw­away’’ so­ci­ety we live in.

New homes with new drains could cope much bet­ter with Handee tow­els and wet wipes, but older homes’ toi­lets couldn’t take them, he said.

‘‘What it comes down to is ed­u­ca­tion – peo­ple need to be much more aware.’’

Porirua City Coun­cil fig­ures show that since last July, there have been 206 waste­water pump­ing sta­tion block­ages. The to­tal cost to fix them is close to $100,000.

City coun­cil­lor Tim Shep­pard, chair­man of the waste­water treat­ment plant and land­fill joint com­mit­tee, said wet wipes, rags, cloth­ing and san­i­tary items were the worst of­fend­ers for caus­ing block­ages, known as rag­ging.

‘‘If a waste­water pump­ing sta­tion is blocked, it will over­flow and the raw sewage ends up in streams and Porirua Har­bour,’’ he said.

It was a cost the coun­cil and ratepay­ers could eas­ily avoid, Shep­pard said. ‘‘Flush­ing wipes is like flush­ing a fist­ful of $20 notes down the loo.’’

Rag­ging also blocked screens at the waste­water treat­ment plant in Ti­tahi Bay, Shep­pard said.

Only the three Ps should go down the toi­let – pee, poo and toi­let pa­per – no mat­ter what it might say on a prod­uct’s pack­ag­ing, he said.


Se­nior re­porter Kris Dando is a fi­nal­ist in the Canon Me­dia awards. He is one of five fi­nal­ists in the hotly con­tested com­mu­nity re­port­ing sec­tion.

is a fi­nal­ist in the best com­mu­nity news­pa­per sec­tion for the fourth con­sec­u­tive year. The win­ners will be an­nounced in May.


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Ti­tahi Bay North School has re­ceived sev­eral dic­tio­nar­ies from Ro­tary Club of Porirua. Prin­ci­pal Colin Tarr said they would help the chil­dren im­prove their vo­cab­u­lar­ies and word knowl­edge.


The Porirua sec­tions of 2016 Stage Chal­lenge and J Rock take place at Te Rau­paraha Arena on June 2 and 3.


A new stream-side walk­ing and cy­cle­way path from Porirua to Kenepuru Sta­tion is open­ing on Thurs­day. The 1.4km con­crete path con­nects with the Tawa Val­ley Path­way, Ara Tawa.


A com­plaint to the Press Coun­cil was filed over the story about Pau­ata­hanui cafe owner Dar­ryl El­lis’ deal­ings with Porirua City Coun­cil. For the Press Coun­cil de­ci­sion, see page 9.


A fundraiser movie for Whitby moun­tain­biker Eden Cruise is be­ing held at the Light­house Theatre, Pe­tone, April 17, 5.30pm. Cruise is one of two New Zealan­ders at­tend­ing a ju­nior train­ing camp in Cairns on April 22. To re­serve a seat, con­tact Bex at reb­star001@gmail.com on 021 02395171, or Kay on 021 02476515


Steve War­ren wants peo­ple to be aware they should not flush wet wipes down the toi­let.

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