SA Water has revealed a list of the most unusual non-flushable items extracted from its Adelaide Hills Wastewater Treatment Plants, to remind Hills residents they should only be flushing the three Ps – pee, poo and paper.
Among the items staff have hauled out of SA Water's wastewater treatment facilities' are nappies, mobile phones, a 250 metre length of rope, and car tyres. Customers have also contacted SA Water hoping to retrieve accidentally flushed items such as false teeth, drivers' licences, and even a rubber chicken!
SA Water’s Adelaide Hills Wastewater Manager Eddie Brooks said flushing anything down the toilet that doesn’t dissolve could damage household pipes and the wider sewerage network.
“Toilet paper breaks down in around 30 seconds, but wet wipes, aloe vera -infused tissues, sanitary pads and tampons are much stronger and don't easily disintegrate in the sewerage system," he said.
“They can get caught and build up around tree roots or other foreign objects that have found their way into sewer pipes, increasing the risk of a blockage.
"Non-flushables that make it through the sewerage network to a treatment plant typically account for 90 per cent of the non-biodegradable material that is removed and taken to landfill, at an average annual cost of more than $400,000 across the state.
"Toilets, sinks and drains are not bins, so keep cooking fats and oils away from your drains because they can line the pipe work at your property and also make it hard for good bacteria to do its job at our treatment plants.”
SA Water's four wastewater treatment plants in the Adelaide Hills: Bird in Hand, Gumeracha, Hahndorf and Heathfield process around 5016 kilolitres of sewage each day, and are some of 26 facilities the utility operates around the state.
Sewage is 99.95 per cent water, which the plants filter, clean and disinfect before either making it available for irrigation or returning it back into the environment. The recycled water is used for irrigation at various Hills locations including The Cedars in Hahndorf, an apple orchard and even on site at one of the plants.
The solid organic materials collected at the end of the treatment process are also put to good use, with farmers taking 100 per cent of the biosolids produced by SA Water’s facilities to use as soil conditioner.
For more information on the sewer network and how to keep your home’s plumbing free from blockages, visit sawater.com.au or call 1300 650 950.
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