20 March, 2020 14:15
Michelle Cull, RTL Trades, plumber
Toilet paper remains the hottest ticket in town and it’s causing problems not just in the sewer network, but in household pipes too.

Wet wipes, tissues, and paper towels are being used as alternatives amidst the loo roll shortage and Urban Utilities and local plumbers are warning of the costly dangers.

RTL Trades General Manager, Mick Bradley, said the number of blocked drains his crews had attended to over the last two weeks had skyrocketed.

“Usually we’re called out to around seven blockages a week, but at the moment we’re dealing with more than 20 a week,” he said.

“The majority of blocked drains are caused by people flushing wipes down the toilet and the costs can run into the thousands.

“At a minimum, you’ll be looking at around $400-$500 to have a CCTV inspection carried out and the blockage cleared.”

Urban Utilities spokesperson, Michelle Cull, said a ‘poonami’ of wet wipes was also hitting their treatment plants and pump stations.

“One of the most shocking sights, is the huge volume of wipes we’re removing from the screens at our pump stations every day,” she said.

“The problem with wet wipes, tissues and paper towels is they don’t disintegrate quickly after they’re flushed.

“With the toilet paper shortage continuing, it’s more important than ever to only flush the Three Ps – pee, poo and paper.”

Ms Cull said Urban Utilities removed around 120 tonnes of wet wipes from its network each year which is the equivalent of 34 hippos.

“We also clear around 3,500 blockages in sewer pipes every year at a cost of around $1 million and wipes are a big contributing factor,” she said.

“If you need to resort to using anything other than loo roll, please don’t flush it – place it in the bin instead, to help keep our pipes and yours healthy.”

About Urban Utilities
Established on July 1, 2010, Urban Utilities is one of the largest water distributor-retailers in Australia, providing water and sewerage services to more than 1.5 million residents in South East Queensland. Our 14,384km2 geographic area is made up of the five local government areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset.