Written by John Lisignoli

While many items are being marketed as ‘flushable’ or ‘toilet friendly’ it’s hard to know if it’s actually safe for your sewer system or just a marketing ploy. At Plumber Brisbane (Watermark Plumbing), many ask us what can and cannot be flushed? The simple answer is – if it’s not bodily waste or toilet paper – it’s not okay to flush.  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.


How Can I Avoid Some Drain Blockages?

We can’t always keep a close eye on our kids or visitors to ensure they are only flushing the necessities.  Sometimes a simple measure like a small bin next to your toilet can save you time and money with blocked drains further down the track.  Also ensure that your plants near your sewer system are pipe friendly. Some sewer systems, especially in the older areas of Brisbane, are susceptible to root infiltration.  Urban Utilities has an excellent fact sheet on what not to plant.

Can Flushing Some Items Be Bad for the Environment?

Flushing anything other than bodily waste or toilet paper is wrong! It can back up in your sewer lines, damaging your entire system.  It can also disrupt the wastewater treatment procedure and in some cases continue on to be spat out into the environment.  Nationally wet wipes cost Australia’s water utilities $15 million to clean up and dispose of.   In 2016 legal action was launched against two leading companies for marketing wipes as “flushable” and that they would “break up like toilet paper”, when in fact they wreak havoc on sewage systems and plumbing.

What should I do if my Drains are blocked?

If you have done everything to avoid your drains blocking and something has slipped past your radar, there are some measures you can take! Initially, depending on the severity, try using a plunger. Sometimes a plunger can do the trick and clear the blockage.  If not, or the blockage returns within days, it is definitely time to leave it to a professional.  Blocked drains left unattended can back up through the system, often with sewerage swamping gardens or reappearing through vent pipes. Sewerage is laden with bacteria and can cause illness and infection if not handled correctly.  For everyone’s health and safety please do not ignore any indication of a blockage.

Contact Watermark Plumbing for help. We service most areas of Brisbane. You can checkout Plumber Sunnybank, Plumber East Brisbane, Plumber West End and many other areas we service