Are you still finding it difficult to buy toilet paper? I know I am. For the first time in about six weeks I finally got hold of 9 rolls during my shop yesterday. While we keep being told that there is plenty in production seeing it appearing on our supermarket shelves is another thing. The lack of toilet paper has seen a spike in sales of ‘alternatives’. Tissues, serviettes, towelling paper or wet wipes have been heading off the supermarket shelves to be used on our bums. However, if you‘re flushing these products down the loo you could be creating quite a big problem for the future. We chatted to Scott Walmsley, our plumbing expert, on the cost of blocked drains.
Only flush the three P’s
Hunter Water reminds us that you should only ever flush the three P’s. Pee, Poo and toilet Paper. If you’re tempted to flush down ‘alternatives’ this can lead to blockages in the wastewater system. In mid April, Hunter Water said they are seeing problems in their pipes. These blockages come at a cost. In late 2019 Hunter Water removed what is known as a ‘fatberg’. This was a 14 tonne blockage that takes days to remove. Sadly, they’re in the process of preparing to remove another. If you’re finding it hard to imagine a 14 tonne blockage? That’s the equivalent of 7 large cars. Yuck!
We asked Scott, from Scott Walmsley Plumbing and Gas, what effect flushing alternatives could have. With over 15 years experience in the field he has seen a few blocked drains in his time. He advised us that flushing anything other than the three P’s could result in blocked sewer lines. This is a particular problem if your sewer lines are the old terracotta style. The problem with flushing anything other than the three P’s is that these products, particularly wet wipes are not designed to break down and will sit in your pipes. If you have any tree roots starting to grow into your pipes the blockage only needs to be small to cause a problem.
How much will it cost?
The price will vary to repair a blockage like this depending on the access points and where the blockage is located. Another thing that will affect the price is the type of pipe work e.g. terracotta or PVC. Scott assures us that this is definitely a bill which can be avoided by doing the right thing. No one wants to pay for costly mistakes, so don’t flush it if it’s not one of the 3 P’s.
COVID-19 bottom options
If you do need to use alternatives to toilet paper, place a bin with a lid by the side of your toilet and just as in Asia, throw your used alternatives into it. If you prefer to choose environmental alternatives, you can use rags and wash them after or just head into the bathroom for a quick wash after you’ve flushed – European style!
Our supermarkets are working closely with toilet paper manufacturers and assure us that as the hoarding and panic buying lessens we will once again see shelves of toilet paper for our bums. Who would have guessed at the start of 2020 this would be a problem we would face?
Only buy what you need, slow down the toilet paper sales and leave them on the shelf. Our best way forward is to return to using toilet paper which is designed for the purpose of flushing.
Scott Walmsley Plumbing & Gas
Scott Walmsley – Owner
Description: Scott specialises in plumbing & gas for bathroom, kitchen & laundry renovations as well as providing repair and maintenance for blocked drains, burst or leaking pipes, gas fitting, hot water system replacements, guttering and down pipes, roof leaks, and water tanks. Scott is a fully licensed plumber with 15 years experience in plumbing & gas fitting.