Preventing Wastewater Overflows

Wastewater flows easily through the pipes when only human waste and toilet paper is flushed, and when only soapy water is put down the drain.

Most wastewater blockages are caused by people flushing things down the toilet or sink that they shouldn't, like fats, oils and wet wipes. 

You can take steps to prevent wastewater blockages and protect our environment.    

  • You should only ever flush the three P's - pee, poo and paper.      Keep a bin by your toilet for anything else.   

    Wipes and pills cause pollution and spills 

    Never flush wet wipes, sanitary items, cotton buds - they contain plastics and don’t disintegrate like toilet paper.    The same goes for wet wipes labelled as  ‘flushable’ or ‘biodegradable’ - these products will block drains.  

    Never flush unused medication down the toilet as these can pollute our waterways and affect our delicate eco-systems.    If you have any unused medication, please return it to your local chemist for appropriate disposal.   

  • When you pour leftover fat oil and grease down the sink,  it cools and turns hard. This can result in pipe blockages.

    Here's what you can do: 

    • Pour leftover cooled fat, oil and grease into a non-recyclable container or newspaper, then put it in the rubbish bin. 

    • Let the fat cool down then scrape pots and pans into your rubbish bin before washing.

    • Add a strainer to your sink to catch food scraps and other solids that can join with fats and create a blockage.


  • Breaks in our pipes can also caused by tree roots.   This can also allow stormwater to enter the pipes which can overload the network and cause it to overflow into waterways, streets or even your back yard.   

    Before planting large tree varieties, check the location of pipes and carefully consider where you plant the trees.  

  • Downpipes carry rainwater from the roof of your house into the stormwater network. They should not enter the drain that is used for wastewater from inside your house (e.g. the kitchen, laundry or toilet).