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April 29, 2021

Wet Wipes And Exorbitant Taxpayer Costs That Go With It!

Well, think of toilet paper dipped in anti-bacterial chemicals with samurai-like armour posing an almost unbreakable object when placed down your toilet.

Then spare a thought for the taxpayer who inevitably will foot the bill to have these physically removed from wastewater treatment plants across the Sydney region.

There are 8 million reasons why Flushable wipes shouldn't be stocked on supermarket shelves, and more specifically, 8 million dollars is what it costs Sydney siders alone year on year in removing more than 500 tonnes from treatment facilities. Surprisingly, the number and expenditures involved with its disposal continue to rise.

That's also providing these wipes even reach sewer mains, as frequently, The Pied Plumber Sydney will attend to surcharging gully tops, sewerage overflow down driveways, internal blockages and completely clogged dunnies as a direct result of these unsightly sanitary items.

What usually occurs is a combination of factors:

  • You might have an older sewage line made of vitreous clay earthenware with misaligned joints that allows 'flushable' wipes to catch and lodge. When they dry, a multilayered, course surface emerges ready to trap another new batch of wipes until, finally, blocking beyond the spectrum of any sensible household retrieval method.

  • Wipes commonly collect within your boundary trap's water level and are not likely to manoeuvre towards sewer mains. Kitchen fats can then form an extra barrier, exacerbating the scenario.

  • In many circumstances, disposable items may become lodged around the trap of your toilet and, in some scenarios, begin to impact the entire bathroom.


We've also discovered that wet wipes clog vital sewage infrastructure, such as house vents, causing persistent gurgling every time waste flows through the service, which oftentimes can be challenging to diagnose.

According to Sydney Water, artificial micro-plastic disposal wipe items contributed to more than 70% of main street blockages. Consider this:

If the cost of maintaining treatment facilities in Sydney is $8 million per year for this issue alone, consider the loss of resources that Sydney Water instead could be spending on enhancing our supplies and treatment processes, as well as the personal expenses of purchasing mundane superfluous disposal goods for the consumer.

We're talking hundreds of millions of wasted Australian budgets and income. Not to mention the sheer unnecessary burden on our world's resources and environmental impact of microplastic based waste through to our ocean life, creeks and rivers.

The international water industry has agreed to a policy document stating that all wipes and personal hygiene products should be labelled 'Do Not Flush' and disposed of in the trash.

Over 300 utilities and non-governmental organisations from 23 countries have signed on to this policy statement, which proposes introducing a 'do not flush' notice on packaging to help consumers use and dispose of wipes products appropriately.

Australia's Federal Court Ruling:

After three years of legal proceedings between the ACCC and a consortium of cleansing cloth producers, sadly, our legal system could not definitely rule that wipes were the direct cause of sewerage system blockages due to lack of evidence.

The sheer fact is, people are unaware of the issue, and not enough tangible complaints have been established to sway public opinion on the matter.

Do you believe you may have blocked your toilet with disposal wipes?

Our advice is to call in the professionals. Improper clearing methods with domestic-based equipment usually utilises plunging.

This can push a disposable wipe blockage elsewhere and potentially increase the scope of works to drain clear professionally. The Pied Plumber knows plumbing design!

We always suggest using a CCTV camera and high-pressure water to alleviate these types of blockages.

Not only will we have your drains functional again, but we'll also leave you at ease knowing that it's; case closed and mystery solved with your enlightened understanding on future prevention.

Our view simply put; just because it fits down the dunny doesn't mean it should be flushed. We all need to do our part for public awareness to permanently remove these items from our shelves as a critical component of our future sustainability.

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