Wet wipes are clogging our pipes

May 11, 2015

Do you throw your wet wipes down the loo? Well this is for you! Our wastewater system is being clogged with masses of wet wipes from people flushing them.


This issue is being experienced across the developed world and was getting bigger and costlier as more and more "flushable" products came on the market. Reports from all over the world have come out –including New York and London—about how this concoction of wet wipes and greasy discharges are mixing together to form a perfect storm for ‘fat bergs’ to build up in our sewerage network.

Late last year it was reported that Sydney was experiencing its own ‘personal wipe’ endemic with major clogging occurring across the sewerage network due to wipes, some which claim to be flushable. Sydney have estimated that one million kilograms of wet wipes have reportedly been removed from their sewers over the last two years, a trend which is costing Sydney Water millions of dollars to resolve.

We are experiencing our own problems here in Canberra, caused by much the same issue, just on a smaller scale. Instead of disintegrating after flushing – like toilet paper does—the synthetic wipes are not breaking down, and are then contributing to an average of one pump blockage occurring on average every three days. This poses a significant cost to the Canberra community and we know that it’s preventable if we do the right thing.

The national water and wastewater sector will continue to work with industry to find solutions going forward. In the meantime, only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed.

Click here for further information about correct domestic sewage management.