Wipes and Drains Do Not Mix


The strata sector is supporting Sydney Water’s warning not to flush disposable wipes down drains or other forms of plumbing over concerns of the wipes being linked to fatbergs; despite a high profile court case deeming certain wipes ‘can’ be sold as flushable.

Sydney Water and consumer advocates have warned against flushing wet wipes down the toilet, after an appeal court ruled the consumer watchdog had not proven it was misleading for Kleenex products to be marketed as “flushable”.

Even though wet wipes might state that they are flushable on their packaging, the reality is that they don’t break down and cause blockages in Sydney Water’s wastewater pipes and plumbing as a result.

Over the last three months, there has been a major spike in blocked drains in apartment buildings in NSW as people turn to toilet paper alternatives, like wipes, which are causing drains to clog.

Blocked drains lead to raw sewage overflows which pose a public health problem and which in apartments and units are costly to fix because of access issues.

We support the warning from Sydney Water that the continued use of disposable wipes could turn into a major public health issue, very quickly.

Apartment buildings are designed differently to residential standalone homes and getting access to drains and sewerage lines is problematic in many apartments. If toilet plumbing lines get clogged with newspapers, disposable wipes, and nappies, it is a difficult and expensive issue to fix.

If more and more people are confined to self-isolation, the prospect of clogged plumbing increases and the problem of raw sewage spills also increases. And because it is hard to find those responsible, the costs typically have to be shared by all owners.

We support the warnings from Sydney Water that strata residents should refrain from flushing disposable wipes; they should be binned instead.