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Your sink is not a rubbish bin

Here are four ways to avoid a sewage disaster while you spend more time at home during COVID-19

Learning - Our Services

May 14, 2020

Highlights

Items such as wet wipes and tissues can build up in pipes and lead to blockages

Highlights

Items such as wet wipes and tissues can build up in pipes and lead to blockages

Since stay-at-home restrictions started, reports have emerged of increased blockages and backflows caused by households flushing cleaning wipes, rags and cooking oil down the drain.

Just last month, a 42-tonne fatberg bigger than the size of a petrol tanker was found in a Melbourne drain that took a crew of 8 people, 9 hours to remove. Fatbergs are created when wet wipes stick together to fats and oils poured down drains, sinks and toilets, causing massive blockages and damage to sewer pipes.

Here are four simple tips to avoid an at-home fatberg emergency:

1. Keep fats, oil and grease (FOG) out of your kitchen sink
Cooking oil, grease and fats can create unsightly plumbing issues in the home and nasty blockages known as fatbergs that can block entire streets when poured down the sink – and it becomes worse when FOG gets mixed with other items in the sewage system like paper towels, wipes and nappies.

Put your used FOG into a sealable container and place in your general waste bin. Your local area may also accept cooking oil and grease in the compost or organics bin, so check with your local council before disposal.

2. ONLY flush toilet paper down the toilet
Tissues, kitchen towels, and wet wipes (even “flushable” wipes) should never be flushed down the toilet. Always dispose them in your general waste bin and never in your recycling bin. Items such as wet wipes and tissues don’t break down in the sewage system, causing build ups in the pipes.

3. Safely dispose of hazardous household chemicals
Don’t pour old cleaning liquids, powders, paint and other household chemicals down the drain or into the ground. These hazardous chemicals can corrode pipes and waterways, leading to structural damage and safety issues.

Instead, keep chemicals in their original packaging, or pack them into sealed containers if needed, then contact your local council to find the nearest open hazardous waste drop-off points.

4. Put your bins out the night before
Bin collection times may have been adjusted to ensure we’re able to get through all our services while adhering to social distancing and safety measures. Put your bins out the night before, keep a safe social distance of at least 1 metre between bins and free of obstructions like poles or trees. Check with your local council for the latest advice and bin placement guidelines.

Contact us to learn more about how we’re making a sustainable future possible in communities across Australia.