Media Release - Water New Zealand

Friday, 26 May 2017

water new zealand

There is a big problem lurking in sewers – one that’s becoming an expensive burden on householders, ratepayers and damaging our environment.

Putting wipes down the toilet can block pipes, which can lead to sewage overflows into homes or creeks. It's likely they can block your sewer pipes leading to a costly plumbing bill.

Wastewater treatment plants too are under increasing stress because of the growing mass of products being flushed down the sewers.

Water New Zealand and the Food and Grocery Council (representing local New Zealand manufacturers and suppliers) have been working together to highlight the problems caused by the incorrect disposal of wipes and other products such as facial tissues and sanitary hygiene products.

They’ve produced a video which they hope will help get the “don’t treat your toilet like a rubbish bin” message to the public.

Cleaning wipes, baby wipes, make up removal wipes and facial tissues are among a range of products that people mistakenly flush down the toilet, says Food and Grocery Council Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

“These products get caught in pipes, pump stations and wastewater treatment plants and cause expensive blockages.”

“Once past the s-bend, flushed wipes can get caught and block household sewers, causing toilets to backflow into bathrooms.

“Not only is this unpleasant, it comes with costly plumbing bills for homeowners. If the wipes do make it further down the drain they cling to wastewater pipes, pumps and often congeal with fats and grease to block sewers.

Water New Zealand Chief Executive John Pfahlert says flushing wipes also damage the environment.

“Clogged sewers can overflow into rivers and the oceans and destroy wildlife, placing big costs on councils and rate payers to clean up.

“Everything we flush finds its way into a wastewater treatment plant and then to oceans, rivers or the land.”

The Food and Grocery Council, supported by Water New Zealand, have produced a video outlining why our toilets should NEVER be treated as a rubbish bin. It’s hoped that this video will help to educate people about the costly problems of flushing the wrong things down the toilet.  

Please, tell your family and friends – our toilets are not rubbish bin. If it’s not pee, poo or toilet paper it should not be flushed.