Sewer jams a serious issue

Jacinta CantatoreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
A "fatberg" removed from wastewater pipes in Cowaramup last year, caused in part by people flushing the wrong things down the loo.
Camera IconA "fatberg" removed from wastewater pipes in Cowaramup last year, caused in part by people flushing the wrong things down the loo. Credit: supplied.

The panic-buying of essential items like toilet paper may be having some unintended consequences on the sewerage system.

A Harvey-based plumber has warned that flushing anything other than toilet paper down the porcelain throne could lead to some costly problems.

Supermarket shelves being stripped bare and shoppers getting into arguments made headlines around the country as people tried to stock up with enough supplies to last two weeks in the event they contracted COVID-19.

Now, as the shelves remain bare of toilet paper, some people have resorted to extreme measures, with reports of people using paper towels, wet wipes or even newspapers.

Owner of Pearl Plumbing Peter Davies has warned flushing these items could mean flushing money down the drain.

“People need to be careful what they are flushing down the toilet,” he said.

“I know people are going to extreme measures but the system can’t handle it.”

Mr Davies said these products could lead to blockages in the wastewater system and were especially an issue for people on septic tanks.

“Don’t use wet wipes or newspaper,” he said.

“They can’t break down fast enough in the drains.”

“In extreme cases using wet wipes can cause big issues, especially for people with septic systems.”

He warns fixing these kinds of blockages could be costly.

“Depending on access to drains, this can cost between $200-$400,” he said.

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