Don’t flush wipes

Back in July, 2015, the ACT Government published an article on the problem with “flushable wipes” (article below). This is a problem around the world and it seems people are still flushing wipes (and other things) into the sewerage system.

Canberra’s sewer systems are being choked with great mounds of supposedly ‘flushable’ wet wipes.

Instead of disintegrating, the wet wipes gain mass as they travel through the sewer, congealing with fats, grease and oil and causing nasty blockages. They also regularly clog our sewer pumps around the city.

There’s a blockage caused by wet wipes every three days in Canberra, which require our workers have to manually remove at a cost of $70,000 each year.

The problem isn’t just in the nation’s capital, it’s a worldwide issue – and it’s getting worse.

In 2013, Thames Water in the UK had to remove a 15 tonne ‘fatberg’ made up of wipes and cooking oil that blocked the London sewer network.

In New York, the annual bill for equipment damage from wet wipes is in the millions.

Sydney Water also claims to have removed 500 tonnes worth of wet wipes from its waste water systems over the past two years – costing the Sydney community millions of dollars annually.

A wet wipe is any kind of baby wipe, toilet wipe, body wipe, personal hygiene wipe or cleaning wipe. They are often incorrectly marketed as flushable.

Icon Water, along with the rest of the national water and wastewater sector, is working with the wet wipe industry to find solutions moving forward.

In the meantime, remember that only human waste and toilet paper should ever be flushed down the loo.

4 comments on “Don’t flush wipes

  1. I saw that disgusting picture. Yuck! Thank goodness I don’t do that (flush wipes).

  2. They actually used a fatberg as a plot point in the show Younger. I’d never heard of that before.

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