SA Water exposes city’s dirty secrets

Sa Water Mount Gambier Wwps  TBW Newsgroup
DOWN THE DRAIN: Mount Gambier residents have been urged not to throw “gross” items in their toilets given it is leading to blockages in the city’s sewer system.

THE state’s water authority has appealed to Mount Gambier residents to stop putting “false teeth, rubber chickens and golf balls” in their toilets, which is clogging the city’s sewerage network.

SA Water has revealed the Blue Lake city is the region’s hotspot for people putting “weird and gross” items into the region’s sewer system.

In recent years, there have been nearly 100 blockages across the region, with most occurring in Mount Gambier due to its larger population and waste water mains length.

The issue is seeing “hundred of thousands of dollars” go down the drain for the SA Water given the cost of unclogging systems and taking material to landfill.

“Our message is simple – if it’s not paper, pee or poo (the three Ps), do not flush it down the loo,” SA Water production and treatment senior manager Lisa Hannant said.

“The most common and problematic things we have to remove are wet wipes, pads, tampons and condoms, as well as fats and oils coming down kitchen drains.”

Unlike toilet paper, she warned wet wipes did not break down in water.

“Wads of them can build up behind another foreign object in the pipe, such as tree roots, or get stuck in congealed fats and oils to form a blockage or choke,” Ms Hannant said.

“Chokes can occur in our mains or your internal plumbing and more often than not result in everything in the pipe breaking out into the environment or unfortunately coming back up through your toilet or drain.

“This then requires a plumber or one of our crews to clean up the mess, which is a cost and inconvenience that could have been avoided by only flushing the ‘three Ps’.”

Ms Hannant said SA Water spent hundreds of thousands of dollars each year removing items from its sewer networks, which did not belong there and were taken to

landfill.
For SA Water, items that have become stuck in the sewer pipes are only half the challenge – some objects can make it all the way to the wastewater treatment plants.

“We have seen it all – false teeth, rubber chickens, car tyres, Lego blocks, a shredded mattress, sprinkler heads, blocks of wood, drivers’ licences, underwear and even golf balls,” Ms Hannant said.

SA Water manages sewer networks and wastewater treatment plants in the Far North, Fleurieu Peninsula, Lower Eyre Peninsula, Murraylands, South East region and Upper Spencer Gulf.

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