Wet wipes block pipes

Sydney Water has put out a plea to residents of Bangor, Barden Ridge, Lucas Heights, Menai and Woronora to stop flushing wet wipes and other bathroom products down the toilet.

This follows a series of wastewater pipe blockages in the Woronora area where significant quantities of wipes and other products have needed to be manually removed.

Shaun Gardner, Operations Leader South, at Sydney Water said: “We have needed to remove major blockages in the main wastewater pipe at Prices Circuit, Woronora, and throughout the wastewater system on a number of occasions. We are asking that local residents stop using their toilet like a rubbish bin and dispose of wet wipes and other bathroom products properly.

“Even though these products might state that they are flushable on their packaging, the reality is that they don’t break down and as a result, cause blockages in Sydney Water’s wastewater pipes. Worse for local residents, wipes and other products can cause blockages and damage to private sewer pipes. One Sydney resident reported a $16,000 plumbing bill to repair her private sewer pipes caused by her flushing wet wipes.”

Sydney Water spends millions of dollars every year physically removing wet wipes and other materials from their wastewater network, which is a problem for all utilities, whether in Australia or around the world.

Sydney Water’s ‘Clean up not down’ campaign has stressed the importance of using a rubbish bin to dispose of wet wipes and any other bathroom or personal products – such as condoms, cigarette butts, cotton buds, dental floss, hair and unwanted medication – instead of flushing them down the toilet. Similarly, fats, oils and greases, and any other food scraps and waste should be thrown in the rubbish bin instead of down the sink.

In a relatively tongue-in-cheek moment, Mr Gardner added: “remember the three Ps – the only things that you should flush down your toilet are pee, poo and paper!”