Love Your Loo: Flush only paper, pee and poo!

Published on 30 March 2020

Wet wipes.

Horowhenua District Council is asking residents to ‘Love Your Loo’ as increased flushing of wet wipes and hand-sanitising wipes during the COVID-19 pandemic sends sewer pump blockages soaring.

“We’re seeing as many as three sewer pump blockages in one morning,” says Gerry O’Neill, Planning Manager for Horowhenua Alliance, which looks after the district’s wastewater network for the Council.

“It could become a serious issue for us, especially if we have to deal with reduced staffing levels during lockdown too.”

Mr O’Neill said the Alliance spends about $30,000 per year clearing sewer pump station blockages caused by people disposing of non-flushable items down the toilet. In the 2018-19 financial year, there were 242 pump station blockages, which took over 262 combined hours to clear.

The message is simple: Flush only the ‘Three Ps’ - paper, pee and poo.

“Just because a product is branded as flushable, it doesn’t mean it should be flushed or that it’s safe to do so. Wet wipes don’t disintegrate the same way toilet paper does and they cause a serious problem,” Mr O’Neill said.

“Some wipes get stuck in our pumps. Others might get through to our wastewater treatment plants, where they make treating effluent more difficult. We have a mountain of wet wipes that we’ve had to fish out of wastewater at our Levin treatment plant.

“Please be mindful about what you flush down the toilet. If it’s not paper, pee or poo, it should go in the bin.”

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