We have all seen the myriad of videos both on the internet and in the news about people competing with each other to grab their hands on toilet paper. However, there is more to this story as the toilet paper shortage is the cause of another major issue.  Consumers are using various alternates to toilet paper and resorting to a variety of things like wet wipes, paper towel, newspaper or even old clothes. In turn, this lead to major blockages of the sewerage networks across Queensland.

In one of our previous blogs, we covered in detail what can and cannot be flushed in toilets. While lots of wet wipes, nappy liners and sanitary products state they are ‘flushable’ or ‘toilet friendly’ this is definitely not the case and can cause serious damage and blockage to your drains. They clog pipes and create fatbergs — huge clusters of fabric bond with oil or fat in the sewers.

Consumers have been assured by both Government and Supermarkets that they have a good supply of almost everything including toilet paper, and that there is enough for all. This update was released online, on their social channels and in the news. Supermarkets have even clearly advertised in their stores that if everyone sticks to their normal buying routine and do not hoard these items then there is enough for everyone. However, due to coronavirus crisis, panic buying still occurred and many started stockpiling. This resulted in a shortage of toilet paper available in supermarkets across Brisbane.

Recently, Coles and Woolworths announced that they will limit purchase numbers on some of these items to stop the stockpiling. However, toilet paper stands are often still empty in most stores. It seems many are now using alternate options to toilet paper,  leading to blocked pipes and sewerage.

Scott Moorhead from Townsville Water said his team were also facing new challenges while trying to keep the pipes clear.

“Rags are quite common,” he said.

“Wet wipes, flushable wipes, but even kitchen cloths all come through.”

Clearing those blockages comes at a cost.

“In a normal year, it’s costing us $2 million but in the last month or so, it has been a rapid increase,” Mr Moorhead said.

Clearing blocked drainage is expensive and, time-consuming and blocked drains are bad for the environment. Check out this blog for more information on what you can and can not flush. We request that only toilet paper be flushed within our sewerage system. We are here to help if you need any advice. Feel free to call us if you need support for your blocked drains.

At Watermark Plumbing, our team handles all types of blocked drains, big or small. Once the drain has been cleared and the cause of the blockage identified, we can work with you to prevent it from happening again.