27 September 2023

Wet wipe waste worrying SA Water

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SA Water has accused Adelaide residents of continuing to clog the sewer network by flushing wet wipes, with the worst offenders in Morphett Vale, Rostrevor and Hillcrest.

These and other high flushing areas have resulted in nearly 300 wet wipe-induced blockages during the past year.

Senior Manager of Production and Treatment at SA Water, Lisa Hannant said she hoped the publicity would lead to a reduction in the unwanted behaviour and reduce unnecessary costs.

“Unlike toilet paper, which breaks down in around 30 seconds, wet wipes contain multiple layers of woven fibre and are designed not to disintegrate, making them a menace for our sewer network,” Ms Hannant said.

“Clumps of wet wipes and other unflushables such as tampons, tissues and condoms, can build up in our sewerage pipes and block the flow, leading to overflows on the street or inside people’s homes.”

She said householders should only ever flush the three Ps — pee, poo and (toilet) paper. “Put everything else in the bin.”

Ms Hannant said that over the past 12 months, wet wipes were directly responsible for 2,500 sewer blockages across SA Water’s network and at customers’ individual connection points.

She said the introduction of a new world-first standard, defining what shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, might help consumers “make the right choice at the dunny”.

“Rinsing food scraps, fats and oils down kitchen sinks instead of putting them in the bin is also problematic,” Ms Hannant said.

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