Wet Wipes and Plumbing Problems

Plumbing Problems

We like to compare great inventions by saying ‘best thing since sliced bread.’ Antibacterial wipes, or wet wipes as we call them in Australia, are up there in high favouritism for parents with babies. They have gained in popularity with all ages so they are no longer exclusive to parents with toddlers. The problem now, for plumbers in particular, is that they are used as an alternative to toilet paper. Some of these products are being marketed (incorrectly) as being flushable and as a result are causing some major problems with wastewater systems.

The fact that they are not suitable to be disposed of in our toilet systems has been backed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Regardless of the bad press they are receiving from plumbing services and councils, there is still one in four people in the metro area flushing these wet wipes down the toilet. Sewer blockages in cities are because of the wet wipes.

There are a few reasons why you should not flush wet wipes down the toilet:

They present a significant environmental hazard.

  • Blockages, Problems, Costs
  • Number 1 for Blockages
  • Environmental Hazard

Not Biodegradable

Toilet paper is made to break down. Wet wipes do not. They are made of stronger material and take a lot longer to break down. There are chemicals in the wet wipes and these pollute the water. The type of paper used is tough and tends to just be added to the paper in the waste water system. The other problem is that if the treatment facilities can’t remove the wipes, they are flushed out into our oceans causing more environmental problems.

What a job!

From the plumber’s point of view, removing a wet wipes blockage, large clumps of them from pipes, is both unpleasant and labour intensive. Once these clumps form they catch other items in the blockage. Result? A plumber’s nightmare and not a cheap resolution for the householder. People say plumbers are better paid than doctors, and if you continue to use wet wipes in your toilet, your plumbing bills are definitely going to be bigger than your medical bills. Wipes should be placed in a rubbish bin – not the toilet.

Wet Wipes the Number 1 Blockage Problem

Residential plumbers and the ACCC say that the biggest cause of household blockages in Australia are wet wipes. Too many brands are marked as flushable, but this is not fact, rather false advertising. The blockages have been big enough in some properties to cause pipes to burst. Add water damage repair costs to the problem.

If you think you have blocked pipes due to flushing wet wipes down the toilet, and you have tried a few things yourself to unblock the toilet, you better contact your local plumber. Removal of such blockages is a job for the professionals.