Reminder of 3 Ps to avoid blocked city pipes
Key to the continued operation of the city’s wastewater network during lockdown is that people stick to the 3 Ps and flush nothing other than pee, poo and toilet paper down the toilet.
Incidences of blockages in the city wastewater pipes have increased since the call went out for people to stay home during Covid-19 Alert Level 4.
Contractors would generally attend on average 3 blockages a week, however over the last 6 weeks they’ve had to remove un-flushable items clogging wastewater mains on more than 53 occasions.
There were 18 blockages resolved in the first week of lockdown alone. Each call-out incurs an average of $1000 in extra costs to ratepayers.
“It’s critical the whole community plays its part in keeping wipes and other things out of the wastewater system,” says wastewater treatment team leader Tracey Panton.
Residents can have plenty of confidence that the wastewater system is working adequately.
“Our wastewater treatment plant and reticulation is automated via a programmed SCADA (System Control and Data Acquisition) system, controlling the pumps and treatment system automatically in response to flows,” says Ms Panton.
It’s also rock solid in the event of power failure with a 1000kv generator for the wastewater treatment plant and mobile generators to run the pump stations in the reticulation.
An alarm system alerts staff and contractors to any breakdowns and malfunctions with operational staff monitoring things and undertaking maintenance where required.
“We have contractors available for response in case of breakdown or failure and are undertaking required maintenance during lockdown to ensure the wastewater system continues to operate as usual for our community,” says Ms Panton.
There is also contingency built into the pump stations, with two pumps available for use in each station. If one fails, the other will automatically start. At the wastewater treatment plant, there is a similar set up in place.
Council carries its own stock of critical spares parts that allow the replacement or repair of equipment and pipes if needed.
“To help our system run well, remember the 3 Ps. Pee, poo and paper should be the only things you flush,” says Ms Panton.
“For everything else, like rags, wet wipes and nappy liners, put it in the bag, not the bog. Your help with this will mean less blockages in our system and keep it working well!”
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