Sydney Water campaign to flush out blockages

Sydney Water campaign

Sydney Water has launched a new campaign to reduce the hundreds of tonnes of wet wipes and other household items flushed down Sydney toilets and sinks each year.

‘Are You Flushing Kidding Me?’, featuring Sydney Water ambassador Shane Jacobson, aims to simplify the conversation around what should and should not end up down Sydney’s drains.

According to recent data, many residents of Greater Sydney – especially younger males and those in culturally and linguistically diverse areas – are unaware of the impact and risk of flushing foreign materials, and the potential costs involved to rectify blockages.

This is further complicated by many brands of wipes that despite claims of being flushable, are actually not.

Sydney Water says 51 per cent of surveyed customers think it is fine to flush wet wipes, facial wipes, cotton wool and other sanitary items down the toilet. These items pose a major threat to the wastewater network – especially when combined with fats, oils and grease from kitchen sinks.

During the past nine months, Sydney Water crews attended an average of more than 870 jobs per month involving blockages caused by debris, at a cost of $7.14 million.

Maryanne Graham, Sydney Water’s General Manager for Customer, Strategy and Engagement, said the campaign uses humour to address a serious problem.

“This campaign is about raising awareness around a critical issue which not only costs Sydney Water more than $14 million a year to fix, but customers thousands in sewage overflows, bathroom and street flooding,” Graham said.

“The environmental impact is also huge when you look at the number of blockages and overflows which amount to about 13,000 chokes across the network a year.”

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