Blockages cost up to $50,000 per pump

Lower Murray Water (LMW) has announced a new awareness campaign to get customers to think about what they are putting down their household drains and toilets which can block the area’s sewer systems.

 

The campaign aims to educate customers about how the things that go down your sink, toilet and household drain has a big impact on our environment and our treatment plants and the cost of treating the wastewater.

LMW attends on average 85 sewer blockages each year, costing up to $1000 per blockage.

Replacement of pumps due to irreparable damage from blockages can cost up to $50,000 per pump.

LMW has over 630km of sewer pipes which supply our wastewater treatment plants, which process more than 15 Million Litres of wastewater every day, that’s the equivalent of 15 Olympic swimming pools of wastewater every day.

Over the years LMW has accumulated a mass of false teeth, mobile phones, wallets, toys and cameras at our Treatment Plants.

Other items flushed include nappies, wipes, sunglasses, soft toys/children’s teddies pet gold fish, jewellery, underwear, tennis and golf balls and pens/pencils.

These items cause damage to our filter and pump systems and push the prices up for our customers.

Managing Director, Mr Phil Endley said “customers may think small insignificant items like personal wipes may be ok to flush but when mixed with household fats and food scraps they can become a real problem and can cause obstructions in the sewerage system.

“This can be a time consuming and costly exercise for both LMW to resolve and depending on the location of the blockage, for the customer as well.

“Customers can avoid unnecessary calls to plumbers, protect their pipe work and assist LMW to protect the environment by following some simple steps.” Mr Endley said.

“By far in recent years the biggest maintenance issue LMW has faced is the introduction of the “flushable wipe”. However, just because the wipe can be flushed doesn’t mean it should.

“Using a strainer in the sink to prevent food scraps and debris from going down the sink in the kitchen, using biodegradable toilet paper, avoid putting oils, plastics, paints, pesticides and chemicals down your drains.

“Cut down on the amount of detergent used during washing in the kitchen and laundry. Customers are urged to remember that anything that is flushed or washed down the household toilet will end up at one of our treatment plants.

“So remember to bin it if it doesn’t belong in the sewer,” said Mr Endley.

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