Penrith tops Sydney Water’s naughty list as worst toilet blockers revealed

A 'fatberg' being removed by Sydney Water.
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Penrith has topped a list of worst offenders for chokes and blockages caused by flushing inappropriate items down toilets.

It comes as Sydney Water launches a new advertising campaign reminding people to only flush the three P’s – pee, poo and toilet paper.

Sydney Water spends around $27 million a year dealing with up to 20,000 network blockages caused by people flushing household waste products like dental floss, hair, paper towels, non-flushable wet wipes and other items.

Sydney Water’s Head of Wastewater and Environment, Iain Fairbairn, said the campaign uses humour to address a serious issue and encourage people to change their behaviours.

“There has been a significant increase in the number of chokes occurring in our network over the last 12 months,” Fairbairn said.

“We are creating an opportunity for people to start an uncomfortable conversation about their toilet habits.

“Some people don’t think twice about flushing a tissue or dental floss, but the reality is non-flushable wet wipes, fats, oils and grease, as well as items like cotton buds and sanitary products are a significant threat to
our wastewater network.

“Around 75 per cent of wastewater blockages involve rubbish that should be put in a bin and not flushed down the toilet.

“It’s all about highlighting the simple things our customers can do to avoid expensive plumbing bills and protect the environment by remembering “a blocked loo is on you”.

Penrith topped the list of where most chokes have occurred on the Sydney Water network with 35 in the last financial year.

St Ives came in second with 30 while Castle Hill was third with 29.

Sydney Water says everything from toys to vapes, tea towels, golf balls and nappies have been found blocking pipes.

From January to April 2024, Sydney Water crews have already attended over 3699 jobs at a cost of $917 a choke.

“If we work together the impact on our environment and the cost to customers will be significantly reduced,” Fairbairn said.

The most recent customer data shows men aged between 18 and 29 are the biggest culprits when it comes to flushing rubbish down the loo.

“Some people are not aware how much damage flushing the wrong thing down the toilet can do,” Fairbairn said.

The new campaign features a group of toilet blockers who flush a variety of items that do not break down and contribute to the most significant blockages. The group is struggling with the temptation to flush inappropriate waste down their toilets.

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