Council advises what to flush and not to flush

Redlands Coast residents are urged to be aware of what is being flushed down their toilets after recent sewerage pump station blockages caused by children’s underwear.

Mayor Karen Williams said the clothing pulled out of machinery at the Victoria Point pump station was the latest in a long list of inappropriate items making their way through the city’s sewerage system.

“Children’s underwear has been appearing every couple of weeks at the Victoria Point pump station,” Cr Williams said.

“Council is encouraging parents and caregivers to keep an eye on what children may be flushing and of course, not to flush these items themselves.

“If a child has soiled their underwear and you don’t want to wash the items they should go in the bin.”

Children’s underwear pulled from a pump station at Victoria Point.

Cr Williams said that over the years Council staff had pulled out of the pumps everything from large lumps of solidified and hardened fat (known at fatbergs), disposable wipes, paper hand towel and cotton buds to wallets, money, jewellery and spectacles.

“None of these items should be disposed of through toilets as they are not designed to break down,” Cr Williams said.

“The sewerage transport system consists of pipes, manholes and pump stations that are designed to carry only free-flowing wastewater with no large solid matter.”

The wastewater treatment plants are designed to treat only human wastewater from toilets, and low-level biodegradable food residue.

If in any doubt on what can be flushed down the toilet, just think of the three Ps (Pee, Poo and toilet Paper).

Cr Williams said flushing incorrect items down toilets could have a number of serious ramifications.

“Flushing anything other than the three Ps down the toilet can cause damage to the sewerage infrastructure, which can result in increased costs to ratepayers,” she said.

“A blockage may also cause sewage to back up onto a resident’s property and it can bubble out of nearby toilets.

“Back pressure may also cause the lid of a sewer maintenance hole to lift, causing sewage to flow into the environment.”

Cr Williams said blockages could also interfere with the treatment process, result in regulatory non-compliance, or reduce the ability to recycle biosolids – all of which could lead to increased costs to ratepayers.