Preventing Sewer Blockages

​We all have a role to play in preventing the district’s sewers from becoming blocked. Knowing what not to flush in your home is the first step in stopping sewage overflowing into the environment.
By being careful about what is flushed away, you can help us prevent sewage overflows and reduce our sewer maintenance costs.

What causes the blockages?

Most sewer pipe blockages are caused by inappropriate material entering the sewer system – such as underwear, clothing, fabric rags, paper towels, plastic bags, money, toys, tools, building materials (rubble and dirt), and rope.

Fat and grease disposed of in the sink solidifies and builds up on the side of the sewers until the whole pipe is blocked (just like in our body’s arteries).
The only things you should ever flush down a toilet are human waste (urine and faeces) and toilet paper. As a guide, if it doesn’t turn to mush when it’s wet, don’t flush it down the toilet.

• Disposable nappies
• Tampons and mini or maxi pads
• Cotton balls and swabs
• Unused medications (Return them to your local pharmacy)
• Condoms
• Cleaning wipes
• Facial tissues
• Bandages and bandage wrappings
• Grease

While these may get flushed out of sight, they can build up in the pipes and cause a blockage.

• Scrape food scraps into the compost bin
• Pour grease into a can, let it harden and throw in the rubbish
• Don’t flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper – wrap everything else and place in the rubbish

Did you know?

Ruapehu District has 6 Wastewater Treatment Plants, 109km of sewer mains (pipes), with 18 pump stations, 1,418 manholes and 4,674 service connections.  Most of the network is made up of pipes 150mm in diameter.

Page reviewed: 28 Jun 2016 9:15am