'Flushable' wet wipes trial
In the battle to reduce the effect so-called ‘flushable’ wet wipes are having on our nations sewer systems a team of scientists are testing the actual flushability of the wipes. The trial aims to get a clear answer to the ‘Are wet wipes flushable?’ argument once and for all so national standards for labelling and manufacture can be set.
The ongoing job of clearing blockages caused by wet wipes is costing councils and water treatment authorities across the country, and around the world, millions of dollars each year. Queensland Urban Utilities alone are plagued with around 3,500 drain blockages annually with wet wipes being a major contributor to the problem.
Wet wipes testing
An above-ground 1.2 km long sewer reproduction testing facility has been set up in Brisbane which will allow scientists to study how wet wipes breakdown and disburse within the sewer environment.
Around a dozen brands of wet wipes will be tested during the trial with the results so far showing that most are very resistant to disintegration.
Colin Hester from Queensland Urban Utilities, leader of the trial, stated that whlie different brands vary in their ability to breakdown “we would say none of them perform well enough to flush them”.
Wipes blocking residential sewer systems
Councils are not the only ones footing a hefty drain clearing bill. Homeowners are not immune to the effects of flushing wet wipes with our plumbers being called out to clear drains blocked with wipes regularly.
What can you flush?
The take out from this story for the toilet users of Australia (yes that’s you) needs to be, don’t flush anything except the 3 Ps - Poo, Pee, and Paper (toilet). Everything else, including items labelled ‘flushable’, should be disposed of in the rubbish bin to avoid clogging up your home sewer pipes as well as those in your local area.