01 December, 2015 13:39
Don't flush wipes billboard
Queensland Urban Utilities has ramped up its plea to consumers to stop flushing wet wipes down the toilet to prevent blockages in the sewerage network and household plumbing.

Billboards with the messages Don’t flush wipes, they block pipes and Only flush the three P's have gone up across Brisbane.

Queensland Urban Utilities spokesperson, Michelle Cull, said the billboards aimed to combat the growing wet wipe issue.

“We remove a staggering 120 tonnes of wipes from our network every year. Laid end-to-end, that’s enough to stretch all the way from Brisbane to New Zealand,” she said.

“It’s costing us around $2.5 million a year to respond to blockages and breaks in sewer pipes and wet wipes are largely to blame.

“The problem is wipes, whether they’re labelled ‘flushable’ or not, don’t disintegrate like toilet paper.

“They’re not just a headache for us – they can also block people’s household pipes, landing them with a big plumbing bill and a smelly mess to clean up.”

Choice Australia recently presented one of their annual ‘Shonky’ awards to a major wet wipe manufacturer for their so-called ‘flushable’ cleansing cloths. 

The consumer group has also asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate the product’s flushability claims.    

According to a recent survey, one in five people have disposed of ‘flushable’ wipes down the toilet*.

“Wet wipes have become the number one enemy of sewer pipes throughout Australia and the world,” Mc Cull said.

“The labelling on some of these products does make it confusing for consumers, so we’re sending out a simple message: only flush the three P’s - pee, poo and paper.

“Just because something can be flushed, doesn’t mean it should be.”

‘Flushable’ Figures
  • 120 tonnes – the weight of wet wipes removed from our sewerage network each year
  • Laid end to end, the wet wipes would stretch from Brisbane to New Zealand
  • 2500 – number of blockages Queensland Urban Utilities clears each year  
  • $2.5 million – cost of responding to sewer breaks and blockages each year
  • $600,000 – cost of disposing this rubbish from our sewage treatment plants each year
  • One in five people have flushed wet wipes labelled as ‘flushable’*
The dirty work we do
  • 9185km – length of sewerage network
  • 331 – number of sewage pump stations
  • 27 – number of sewage treatment plants
  • 107,000 ML – volume of sewage collected, transported and treated each year

*Source: Choice survey, July 2015, sample of 1679 people in Australia aged between 18 and 75 years.

About Queensland Urban Utilities
Established on July 1, 2010, Queensland Urban Utilities is one of the largest water distributor-retailers in Australia, providing water and sewerage services to more than 1.4 million residents across Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset local authority areas. We are upgrading and improving the reliability of our infrastructure by investing $2.76 billion in a 10-year capital works program. Our service territory covers 14,384 square kilometres and we employ around 1,100 people.