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Preventing Blocked Drains & Sewers, A Plumbers Opinion

5 September

As long as drains have existed, preventing blocked drains has frustrated those who maintain them.

Modern drains have come a long way, quite literally from their inception around 2800 years ago by the Roman empire. Designed to prevent the spread of disease by keeping waste water separate from fresh drinking water the Romans were the first to utilise a system of drainage to protect the health of it’s citizens.

Here on Australia’s Gold Coast, there are 3329 kilometres of sewer drains running under our feet worth an estimated $1.3 Billion and close to 250,000 sewer connections.

A large Australian home could have up-to half of a kilometre of waste pipes connecting fixtures like toilets, showers and sinks with various connections, junctions and bends in the system connecting your property to to the main council sewer drain.

It’s an interesting fact that every year 7 million mobile phones are dropped down the toilet and Americans use 433 million miles of toilet paper each year. We will in our lives spend an average of 3 years on the dunny and use of mobile phones has now overtaken reading as the most common activity while on the toilet.

When you consider the complexity of the waste pipe network in our homes it’s small wonder that there are little problems that need the attention of a plumber from time to time.

From this plumbers perspective, preventing blocked drains and sewer blockages occurring is as easy as following the 3 “P” rule.

I told you not to flush that!

Only flush…Pee – Poo – Paper.

Give Goldie the gold fish the burial he deserves, keep the lid down and door shut so that the kids can’t see how well Spiderman can swim.

Next time the constabulary pays an unexpected visit throw your stash over the neighbours fence so they can enjoy it instead of flushing it away.

Dispose of cooking oils in the garbage, do not flush sanitary products , false teeth, hand grenades, puppies, jaw bones, Rolex watches or gold.

These all fair dinkum objects that have been removed from sewers. The puppy was accidentally flushed by an overly exuberant boy while bathing and thankfully was retrieved without harm, pardon the pun.

The problems caused by flushing items like the previously mentioned objects pale in comparison to the cost and resources required to address the number 1 cause of preventable blockages in pipes. The dreaded “Flushable” wipes.

120 tonnes of wipes are pulled from South Queensland sewer drains each year. Laid out they would stretch from Australia to New Zealand.

The wipes bond together with the grease and fat of the sewer system to create enormous “Fat Bergs”.

A fatberg as heavy as 11 double decker buses was discovered in a London sewer, that’s 130 tonnes!

The problem is not just in the council sewer system but in our Australian homes as well. The wipes get stuck on imperfections inside the pipes, tree roots or in dips and bends where grease and fat have accumulated. They then bond to more wipes as they are flushed and pretty soon the pipes becomes completely blocked.

So the solution to preventing blocked drains in the first place is simple if you stick to the 3 “P” rule and don’t flush “Flushable” wipes. If you do find problems with your drains, we have some DIY tips for unblocking drains or get in touch and we’ll take care of Gold Coast blocked drains for you!

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