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27 March 2020:

Keep your wipes out of our pipes

Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council, (CGRC), water and sewer operators are reporting an increase in sewer line blockages due to the increase of wipes, paper hand towel and tissues being flushed down the regions sewer lines.

“Don’t flush it if it’s not called toilet paper,” is the message CGRC Mayor Cr Abb McAlister has for the community.

“Shortages of various items have been reported amidst the coronavirus pandemic, which has seemingly sparked panic-buying in many areas. With toilet paper being one of the hardest-hit items, it seems that people are using other materials instead,” Cr McAlister said.

CGRC sewer technicians, Daryl Kelly in Cootamundra and Geoff Phillips in Gundagai have said they are both seeing a marked increase in paper products coming through the system.

CGRC Water Foreman, Daryl Kelly has reported the team in Cootamundra have been attending to at least one major sewer blockage per week over the last six weeks.

“A major sewer blockage necessitates the need to dig up the line, block traffic access and replace a large sections of pipe. The amount of sewer chokes has risen markedly also,” Mr Kelly said.

Septic systems are also at risk of serious blockages and will need more frequent pumping out.

Toilet paper is specifically designed to break down quickly in the sewer system. Flushing wipes down the toilet, whether labelled ‘flushable’ or not, can cause problems with household plumbing and is contributing to blocked sewers.

“It’s expensive for Council and it’s disgusting work for our teams, please don’t flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilet,” Cr McAlister said.

Picture and caption:

Pictured is a mangled mess of foreign paper products removed from a sewer pipe in Cootamundra this week. CGRC Water and Sewer staff are finding an increase in sewer blockages is due to the increased flushing of wipes, tissues and paper towel products.