Keep the wipes out of the pipes

Published: 20 Mar 2020 3:18pm

The current toilet paper shortage has prompted Wagga Wagga City Council to ensure the community is aware of the damage that flushing foreign material down toilets will cause to the sewer system.

Council is running a public campaign to better educate the community about what can and cannot be sent down the toilet and is encouraging everybody to share this knowledge with their family and friends.

Council Director Commercial Operations Caroline Angel stressed the importance of “doing the right thing” was imperative in this current situation of low toilet paper supplies.

“Flushing wipes and other foreign material can cause very serious problems for the city’s sewer system,” Ms Angel said.

“A blocked sewer at your house is not something you want to experience. It can be costly, not to mention extremely messy.

“Please be conscious of this and only flush toilet paper. Keep your flushing to the three Ps … pee, poo and paper.”

Ms Angel stressed that marketed “flushable wipes” cannot be flushed.

“They do not break down … they will clog the system,” she said.

“We want to avoid pipe blockages, clogged pumps and the creation of ‘fatbergs’. This happens when fats get caught in the wipes and they just keep growing like a snowball.

“These fatbergs are extremely damaging and quite disgusting for those tasked with clearing them from the pipes.”

Ms Angel said the continued practice of flushing wipes down the toilet could potentially bring the entire system to a standstill. Should this happen, there is also the potential for significant health impacts on the community.

“We definitely don’t want that to happen. Please listen to the advice and be responsible,” Ms Angel said.

Council spends considerable budget every year to physically remove wet wipes and other materials from the system.

One of Council’s core responsibilities is to continue to provide these services and ensure the community has access to a reliable wastewater network, Ms Angel said.

Residents are also encouraged not to dispose of fats, oils and greases - or any other food scraps and waste - down the sink. Place it in the red lid bin instead.

Some of the products which should not go down the toilet are: facial tissues, make-up wipes, baby wipe, cleaning wipes, nappies, female sanitary products, condoms, cigarette butts, cotton buds, dental floss, hair and unwanted medication.