As World Toilet Day was celebrated on 19 November 2019, Water Corporation took the opportunity to remind residents in the Western Australian town of Esperance to think twice about what they flush down the toilet in an effort to avoid numerous blockages in the area.
Water Corporation Great Southern Regional Manager, Adrian Stewart, said large wastewater blockages, also known as ‘pipe monsters’, cause havoc in local wastewater systems on a weekly basis.
“Items like socks, jocks, wet wipes, nappies and plastic bags should not be flushed down the toilet as this material does not break down like toilet paper,” Mr Stewart said.
“Every week, our crews pull between 500 and 1,000kg of non-biodegradable material out of the wastewater treatment plant in Esperance – that’s around 75 tonnes each year,” Mr Stewart said.
“We are spending almost $200,000 per year in Esperance alone to clear blockages in the wastewater mains in town, so we are asking everyone to do the right thing.”
Mr Stewart said some parts of the local wastewater system were under more pressure than others with the Forrest Street pump station having to be cleared 12 times already this year.
“We’ve pulled out nine shirts, nine flannels, four pairs of underwear as well as socks, stockings, golf balls, pieces of wood and even a single bedsheet,” he said.
“Even if you think it’s ‘just this once’, remember if every person thought the same we would have blockages everywhere and that can impact our ability to safely take away wastewater to be treated.”
Mr Stewart also said it was important to not pour fat, oil or grease straight down the kitchen sink as once cooled it solidified and caused blockages.
“This will not only help protect the environment and our wastewater system, but also potentially save you money from having to call a plumber to fix any blockages that can happen within your home,” Mr Stewart said.
“This year’s theme for World Toilet Day is ‘Leaving no one behind’ – we urge Esperance residents to not take this infrastructure for granted and to help look after it as remember not everyone across the globe has access to clean sanitation.
“Just remember, only soap and water down the sink, and paper, pee and poo down the loo.”
Water Corporation maintains around 90km of wastewater mains in Esperance and residents and businesses play an important part in helping to protect this important part of Esperance’s infrastructure.