Phew! Valley is feeling a little blocked up
AN increasing number of residents in areas like Lawrence and Iluka are starting that bunged up feeling - or at least their toilets are.
Clarence Valley Council works and civil director Troy Anderson said the problem stemmed from people putting inappropriate material down their toilets.
Mr Anderson said one of the advantages of pressure sewer systems, such as those in Iluka and Lawrence, was that because the pumps served individual properties it was possible to determine exactly who put what down the toilet.
"In gravity sewer areas we only find out at the end of the line when either a line or pump station is blocked," he said.
"When these systems were first installed we had very few problems, but we are increasingly finding people with systems blocked by rags, face wipes or other material that won't go through the pumps. We then get avoidable blockages and that adds to the cost of running the system, particularly if the blockage happens out of hours.
"All property owners with pressure sewer units were given a homeowner's manual when the systems were installed. We can mail out additional copies to people who want them and they can still be accessed online.
"The manual includes a list of items that should never be put down the sewer. This includes a range of materials that might be marked biodegradable. Being marked biodegradable does not mean it can be flushed.
"If a blockage results from inappropriate material we warn the property owner and advise them they could billed for future call outs if they result from flushing of inappropriate material.
"On the Lower River we've been averaging about a call out a week to blockages caused by rags.
"I hesitate to offer reasons for it, but one of the main issues is underpants being flushed down the toilet that wrap around the pump impeller."