Sydney Water statistics recently revealed 75% of sewer blockages are due to flushed wet wipes. Besides blocking your sewer pipes, the may hurt your hip pocket with the more serious cases costing thousands of dollars to fix. Tax payers around the country are also paying over $15 million per year to clear blocked pipes with Sydney Water footing $8 million of the bill. Flushing wet wipes is actually a double-whammy. Raw sewerage can backup into domestic pipes and creeks causing significant environmental damage. When wet wipes get into natural waterways they have the potential to upset the delicate ecosystem balance. That is, sewerage that is usually broken down by millions of bacteria is actually killed by the anti-bacterial properties of wet wipes. Waste is not broken down properly, putting greater strain on public water treatment services. With 25% of all Sydney adults flushing wet wipes, Sydney Water has the unenviable task of getting rid of more than 500 tons of the product each year. Water Services Association of Australia Director, Adam Lovell, states the problem is only becoming worse. “We are unfortunately seeing an increasing frequency of sewage blockages… the problem has really exploded over the past couple of years and it’s costing millions to fix up” Lovell said.
A Case of Misleading Advertising
There is a lot of misleading marketing surrounding wet wipes with some manufacturers even going as far as saying their products are “flushable”. However, just because something is “flushable”, doesn’t mean it should be put down the toilet. For example, your mobile phone is flushable but it’s probably not a good idea to flush it. According to Sydney Water, the city’s residents are twice as likely to flush a wet wipe if they think it will decompose naturally. However, when some wet wipes are incorrectly advertised as biodegradable, this magnifies the problem. On the brighter side, a Sydney Water public education program has achieved significant success by increasing awareness of the problem. The “Keep Wipes Out of the Pipes” campaign resulted in more than halving the number of Sydney residents who think it’s alright to flush wet wipes. However, water corporations around the country still have an uphill battle against companies continuing to market their product as “flushable”. Consumer group Choice recently tested how long it took 12 leading brands of wipes to breakdown with the results not being all together surprising. After a full 6 hours not one of the wipes had broken up meaning they all could all cause blockages.
Only the “Three P’s”
Wet wipes are the most common cause of pipe blockages and cause untold environmental damage. Silverwater Plumbing regularly unblock pipes full of wet wipes. If you have been putting wet wipes down the toilet, please contact us for an inspection as soon as possible to avoid costly repairs in future. However, the best solution is always prevention.
Remember, only three things should get flushed:
“Paper, Pee & Poo”