ALL Wipes Block Pipes

Close call for our oyster farmers and river users!

Local Story from the Port Macquarie Sewer Team

The Sewer Pump Station 23, located next to the Harvey Norman complex on Hastings River Drive, is the major receiving pump station for the Thrumster area, North Shore and Hastings River Drive areas.  

On Sunday morning, 28th April, the level control equipment was unable to turn the pumps on because they were blocked with wipes and sanitary products. This caused the pump station to surge to 75%, triggering an alarm to warn of a potential overflow. If an overflow occurs at this station, it could flow into the Hastings River, impacting the river’s quality and directly affecting oyster farmers and users of the river.

Fortunately, the on-call staff arrived onsite early Sunday morning and began resolving the issue. The staff were able to clear the pump within 15 minutes of receiving the alarm.

Unfortunately, this is a regular issue for sewer system staff and is entirely preventable. Blockages occur due to inappropriate items being flushed into the system which can result in overflows, causing contamination. A compromise in the quality of the water can directly impact oyster farming, which may result in shutdowns and have significant implications for local businesses.

Figure 1: Level control float switch
Figure 2: Choked level control switch

What happens when you flush the wrong things?

  • It can cause blockages in your sewerage system.
  • It creates fatbergs (entangled mess of items), which cause blockages in the sewer system.
  • Sewage can overflow, damaging the environment and public health.
  • Sewer workers are put at risk when clearing out blockages.
  • Financial consequences due to the workload increase and damaged equipment.
Are you flushing the right items?

Items that should not be flushed:

Items that can be flushed:

Any items other than PEE, POO, and toilet PAPER should be placed in the bin.

Did you know?

Despite being marketed as ‘flushable’ or ‘biodegradable’, wipes should not be flushed down toilets.

While people may believe they are disposing of wipes properly, all wipes can cause blockages as they do not break down in time for them to pass through the local sewer system.

To learn more about our Urban Water Systems, explore our Interactive Water Map.

Inlet Works auger choked solid
Inlet Works auger cleaned
Sewer Pump Choke
Port Macquarie Sewerage Treatment Plant - Inlet Works auger waste removed
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