Portland residents urged to "Be Clever - Never Ever"

03 September 2018

Portland district residents are being urged not to flush wet wipes down their toilets after a concerning rise in the number of sewer blockages being reported.

Wannon Water maintenance crews have been called to clear blockages in several residential areas after reports of sewage flowing from manholes. In one incident last month, a large ball of wipes was removed from a sewer main in Barkly Street following an after-hours call.

General Manager Service Delivery Ian Bail said Wannon Water was observing an increasing number of products such as wet wipes, baby wipes and antibacterial wipes getting clogged in pipes and on the screens at sewage treatment plants.

“The package may claim the wipes are ‘flushable’ but they don’t break down or disintegrate like toilet paper,” Mr Bail said. “If you flush them, you could damage your home’s plumbing and block pipes, creating messy and expensive overflows of raw sewage inside or outside your house.

“Across Australia, it’s costing the community millions of dollars every year to deal with the issues these products cause, not to mention the potential for long-term impacts on the environment,” Mr Bail said. “The money we spend clearing blockages from our sewerage network and dealing with the problem is ultimately passed onto our customers through their bills.”

Wannon Water this month launched a new campaign encouraging people to ‘Be Clever – Never Ever’, highlighting the importance of keeping non-biodegradable items out of sewerage systems and helping to contribute to a cleaner environment.

It calls on locals to be clever and never ever flush anything other than the three Ps – pee, poo and (toilet) paper down the toilet.

The campaign encourages people to place a bin in their bathrooms and toilets to dispose of personal hygiene products such as wipes, sanitary napkins, tampons, cotton buds, Band Aids and shaving blades, all which should never be flushed.