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The Future of Flushable Products: A Comprehensive New Standard AS/NZS 5328:2022 Flushable Products

The Future of Flushable Products: A Comprehensive New Standard AS/NZS 5328:2022 Flushable Products

New Flushable Products Standard: A Win for Whywait Plumbing and Our Customers Introduction

Here at Whywait Plumbing, we have long advocated for clear guidelines around using and labelling flushable products. But unfortunately, we’ve seen far too many instances of blockages, overflowing drains, and the ensuing damage to properties and infrastructure due to the misuse of such products.

So from our perspective, sharing the recent news about releasing the new Flushable Products Standard is positive. After all, We’ve done media interviews on this, plus written countless blogs and newsletter articles:

The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) has released the new Flushable Products Standard (PAS 2845.1:2022), which provides manufacturers and consumers with clear guidance on the proper use and disposal of flushable products. In this blog post, we’ll explore the critical aspects of this new Standard and discuss how it aligns with Whywait Plumbing’s long-held beliefs on the issue.

The Importance of the Flushable Products Standard

Addressing the Drain Blockage Problem

Whywait Plumbing has been advocating for these changes mainly because of the immense problem of drain blockages caused by flushing inappropriate items down the toilet. According to the WSAA, approximately 75% of sewer blockages are caused by flushing non-flushable items, costing millions of dollars annually to rectify.

This has led to environmental issues and costly repairs for homeowners and local water authorities. The new Flushable Products Standard aims to reduce the incidence of blockages and save money for everyone involved, making it a welcome development for plumbers and homeowners alike.

Clear Guidelines for Manufacturers

One of the critical aspects of the new Standard is the provision of clear guidelines for manufacturers of flushable products. This includes stringent testing requirements to ensure that only genuinely flushable products can be marketed as such. The Standard also mandates clear labelling, helping consumers make informed choices about what they flush down their toilets.

This means that manufacturers will now have to adhere to these guidelines, ensuring that their products meet the criteria to be deemed flushable. This will help reduce the number of inappropriate items being flushed, leading to fewer blockages and plumbing problems.

How Will The Symbol Be Displayed

The symbols for packaging indicating that a product has passed the criteria in the Standard and is safe for flushing can vary. However, they are typically simple, easily recognisable icons that convey the message. For example, for products that are safe to flush, the symbol might consist of a toilet with a checkmark, signifying that the item can be flushed without causing harm to the plumbing system or the environment.

Conversely, if a product is unsuitable for flushing, the symbol might depict a toilet with a crossed-out circle, indicating that the item should not be flushed. This “do not flush” symbol is crucial for products with a high potential to be flushed, as it helps inform customers about the appropriate disposal method.

In both cases, the symbol should be prominently visible on the on-shelf package, unobscured by packaging seals or folds, ensuring that consumers can quickly identify whether the product is flushable. Again, the goal is to provide consumers with clear, easily understood information, helping them make responsible choices for their plumbing systems and the environment.

flushable products standard

How Does A Product Qualify to Be Flushable?

To qualify for the new Flushable Products Standard and display the flushable logo, products must undergo a series of tests and meet specific criteria outlined in the Standard. These tests ensure the product is safe for flushing and will not harm the plumbing system or the environment. Here are the seven steps a product must pass to qualify:

  1. Clears the toilet and household drain line: The product must pass through the toilet and the household drain line without causing blockages or damage to the plumbing system.
  2. Doesn’t foul household sewage pumps: The product must not clog or interfere with the proper functioning of household sewage pumps.
  3. Disintegrates quickly to prevent sewer blockages: The product must break down rapidly once it enters the sewer system to ensure that it does not cause blockages or damage to the sewer infrastructure.
  4. Doesn’t foul council sewer water utility pumps: The product must not cause any problems or blockages in municipal water utility pumps, ensuring that the more extensive sewage treatment system remains functional.
  5. Settles out in a sewage plant: The product must settle out in a sewage treatment plant, allowing it to be correctly processed and treated without causing issues in the sewage plant.
  6. Biodegrades: The product must be able to biodegrade naturally, ensuring that it does not contribute to environmental pollution or harm aquatic life.
  7. Doesn’t contain plastics (via an attestation): Manufacturers must attest that their product does not contain any plastics, helping to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering our waterways and sewer systems.

By meeting these requirements, a product can qualify for the Flushable Products Standard and display the flushable logo on its packaging. This provides consumers with clear information about the product’s suitability for flushing, helping them make responsible choices for their plumbing systems and the environment.

flushable products standard testing requirements

How the Flushable Products Standard Aligns with Whywait Plumbing’s Beliefs

Prioritising the Health of Our Waterways and Infrastructure

At Whywait Plumbing, we have always believed in maintaining the health of our waterways and infrastructure. The new Flushable Products Standard is a significant step in this direction. It will help prevent the clogging of our sewer systems and the pollution of our waterways with non-flushable waste.

By ensuring that only genuinely flushable products can be marketed as such, we can collectively reduce the strain on our water infrastructure and preserve the environment for future generations.

Empowering Consumers with Accurate Information

Another critical aspect of the Flushable Products Standard that aligns with our beliefs is the focus on providing consumers with accurate information about the products they use. With precise labelling requirements, consumers will be better informed about which items are safe to flush and which should be disposed of in other ways.

This empowers individuals to make better choices for their homes and the environment, helping to reduce the number of blockages and plumbing issues caused by flushing inappropriate items.

A Positive Step for the Plumbing Industry and the Environment

The release of the Flushable Products Standard (PAS 2845.1:2022) is a significant milestone in the fight against drain blockages and the associated environmental and financial costs. By providing clear guidelines for manufacturers and empowering consumers with accurate information, this Standard will help to reduce the number of blockages caused by non-flushable items.

As a long-time advocate for these changes, Whywait Plumbing is delighted to see this progress. It remains committed to promoting responsible flushing practices and educating our customers about the importance of these new guidelines. We believe this Standard will positively impact the plumbing industry, the environment, and the overall health of our water infrastructure.

Our Commitment to Client Education

At Whywait Plumbing, we understand that many of our customers may not be aware of the new Flushable Products Standard and the implications it has for their daily lives. As a result, we are dedicated to educating our customers about the importance of following these guidelines and how they can help prevent blockages and protect the environment.

We will update our website, social media channels, and other educational materials to reflect the latest information on flushable products and the new Standard. Additionally, our team of skilled plumbers will be available to advise and answer any questions our customers may have regarding the proper use and disposal of flushable products.

Future Developments and Ongoing Advocacy

While releasing the Flushable Products Standard is a significant achievement, we at Whywait Plumbing believe there is always room for improvement and further progress. Therefore, we will continue to advocate for stricter guidelines, increased public awareness, and ongoing research into developing truly flushable products that do not harm our waterways and infrastructure.

We will also remain vigilant in monitoring the implementation and enforcement of the new Standard, ensuring that manufacturers comply with the guidelines and that consumers have access to accurate and up-to-date information. We aim to be crucial in driving positive change within the plumbing industry and beyond by staying active in this space.

Tips for Preventing Drain Blockages

While the Flushable Products Standard is a significant step in the right direction, everyone needs to play their part in preventing drain blockages. Here are some practical tips for ensuring your plumbing system stays in top shape:

Only flush the “Three P’s”: Always remember that the only items that should be flushed down the toilet are pee, poo, and toilet paper. Everything else, including wet wipes, facial tissues, and sanitary products, should be disposed of in the trash.

Dispose of fats, oils, and grease (FOG) responsibly: FOG can solidify in your pipes and cause blockages. Instead of pouring them down the sink, collect them in a container and dispose of them in the trash once cooled.

Install drain screens: Placing a drain screen over your sink, shower, and bathtub drains can help catch hair, soap scum, and other debris, preventing them from entering your pipes and causing blockages.

Schedule regular plumbing maintenance: Having a professional plumber inspect and clean your plumbing system regularly can help identify and address potential issues before they become significant problems.

Whywait Plumbing: Your Partner in Responsible Plumbing Practices

As a company that has long advocated for responsible plumbing practices and the proper use of flushable products, Whywait Plumbing is proud to support the implementation of the new Flushable Products Standard. We believe this Standard will decrease drain blockages, benefiting homeowners and the environment.

If you have any questions about the new Standard or need assistance with your plumbing system, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Whywait Plumbing. Our experienced professionals are always here to help you with your plumbing needs, ensuring your home’s plumbing system remains in top condition.

How do you know a drain is blocked?

How do you know a drain is blocked?

Frequently a blocked sewer drain comes as a surprise. A common question asked of our plumbers is how do you know a drain is blocked?

To begin with, if your toilet is backing up and not draining, or your overflow relief gully is spewing out sewerage outside then, you need a blocked drains Gold Coast specialist plumber now. I guarantee DIY remedies such as baking soda and vinegar will not clear your blocked drain.

Unfortunately, not all blockages are immediately apparent. Let me assure you it is not normal to be experiencing gurgling in your drains or slow to drain toilets.

The reality is few blockages are a sudden occurrence. Usually, a blocked drain happens gradually so below we will list out common reasons to the question how do you know a drain is blocked.

How do you know a drain is blocked early warning signs

Early warning signs of an impending blocked drain are easily overlooked but below are the most common to look out for:

  • foul odours in your bathroom or toilet that never go away
  • gurgling noises from your toilet or floor wastes when no-one is using them
  • the toilet when flushed filling up the bowl then slowly draining away
  • the overflow relief gully (ORG) intermittently overflowing then slowly draining away
  • the water seal in your toilet completely being sucked away

What are the causes of a blocked drain?

The most common causes that we have seen recently why a drain becomes blocked is tree roots or buildups of flushable wipes. These, in turn, are commonly caused by:

  • broken sewer house drains that allow roots to infiltrate
  • poorly installed drains that have an incorrect fall that will enable buildups in the drain as they cannot flow away
  • low water flows in flat drains that allow accumulations of solids flushed into the sewer
  • objects flushed down the toilet such as flushable wipes, sanitary products or toys that do not break up in the water

Clearing your blocked drain

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above the answer to how do you know a drain is blocked is simple you need to call us on (07) 5580 4311 before you have no functional sewer house drain.

How Does a Toilet Block?

How Does a Toilet Block?

Toilet blockages are more than an inconvenience!

How does a toilet block is a frequently asked question of our plumbers? Your toilet is after the kitchen sink the most commonly used plumbing fixture in your home. It goes without saying a blocked toilet is more than an inconvenience. For most people, a blocked toilet is an unpleasant experience that they don’t have the stomach to deal with and calling a plumber is their preferred option. So how does a toilet block seemingly without reason and ruin your day?

How does a toilet block with foreign objects?

Adhering to the three P’s rule of pee, poo and paper for your toilet ensure never having to ask how does a toilet block from foreign objects. blocked toilets plumber gold coast

Foreign objects are anything that is not toilet paper, urine or faeces. Toilet pans are not waste disposal units and are designed with one function, and that is to dispose of your bodily waste hygienically.

Toilet paper, despite some popular urban myths, does not block a toilet. Toilet paper is manufactured to dissolve in water and rapidly breaks down when you flush the toilet cistern.

In our experience, the biggest culprit and an absolute foreign object in a toilet pan are flushable wipes. Flushable wipes are anything but flushable and cause toilets and sewers to block up and create horrendous plumbing repair bills.

Other foreign objects we frequently see in a blocked toilet are paper towels, facial tissues, cotton tips, Q-tips, cotton buds, ear cleaners, hair removal wax strips, cotton balls, pantie liners, sanitary napkins and our old favourite of children’s toys.

Tampons are frequently blamed for blocking a toilet or drain and yes they are a foreign object. The reality is that a tampon is too small and flexible to cause a toilet to block. We frequently see real estate leasing managers trying to blame a blocked toilet on tampons, but they are a visible symptom of the blockage, not a cause.

The best method of eliminating your toilet from becoming a rubbish bin is to keep a bathroom waste bin in the toilet or bathroom. It is also a good idea to train your children from an early age on what is safe to flush down a toilet bowl.

How does a toilet block in a toilet pan trap?

The reason there is water in your toilet is that the curved bottom part of the toilet is a trap.
The toilet bowl trap is literally what it says a trap.

The trap retains water in it every time you flush the toilet. The purpose of the trap is to prevent foul sewer odours escaping from the drains and entering your home.

Foreign objects are the primary cause of a blockage in the trap, especially if they are rigid and lodge in the trap outlet. In many circumstances, they can be dislodged and the blockage cleared by using a plunger. If you are attempting to clear it yourself with a plunger, let the water drain down before trying to plunge your toilet into preventing sewage water splashing onto your floor.

Toilet paper is frequently blamed for creating a blockage in the trap. In most circumstances, there is a foreign object lodged in the trap outlet that prevents the toilet paper from flushing away.

If you are experiencing frequent blockages to your toilet, then you have one of the following:

  • a toilet pan that was manufactured in the 1990s that was not compatible with the water flow from the cistern
  • poor quality toilet paper that is not breaking up in the water as required
  • an offset pan collar under the toilet that is restricting flow into the sewer drain

If you are experiencing this scenario, it is a process of elimination. The first thing to do is to try a different brand of toilet paper or even try limiting the amount of toilet paper being used. If that does not solve the blockages, then you need to have your toilet suite and drain connection checked out and possibly have it upgraded.

How does a toilet block from a blocked sewer drain?

Commonly the majority of blocked toilets are a symptom of a blocked main sewer drain.  blocked toilet caused by blocked sewer drain
The toilet becoming completely blocked or slow to drain is because the sewer drains are full and there is nowhere for the water in the toilet to go.

If you have a blocked sewer drain, then all of your plumbing fixtures will cease draining. In this situation, plunging the toilet will achieve absolutely nothing. Worst of all, you will likely end up with sewerage all over your floor.

You were likely receiving warning signals from your sewer drain with gurgling sounds from the toilet, and it was slow to drain when flushed.

Gurgling sounds from any plumbing fixture should never be ignored as they seldom go away and should be investigated immediately if it continues to occur.

If you are experiencing regular blockages in your toilet or hearing gurgling sounds, then you need to call us on (07) 5580 4311 before you experience a complete shut down of your main sewer house drain system.

 

Coffee Grounds Also Remove Sewer Odour

Coffee Grounds Also Remove Sewer Odour

Personally, one of life’s great pleasures is walking into Zarraffa’s Coffee at Hope Island most mornings and getting that immediate lift that the aroma of coffee gives. As a plumber, one of the more problematic issues we face is when a building has a problem with sewer gases or sewer odour. I was not surprised when I came across research that showed that the leftover coffee grounds could eliminate that offensive odour that is sewer gases. 

Sewer odour is hydrogen sulphide and has a characteristic rotten egg smell which can be detected at very low levels, well below those known to cause health effects. 

The sewer odour smell can cause worry, anxiety and resentment as it overwhelms the sense of smell. Repeated odour events may culminate in real symptoms such as headache, fatigue and nausea. Although these are not direct health effects, they are undesirable. It is unlikely the odour will affect your health as humans smell it at shallow levels, as hydrogen sulphide is denser than air and tends to pool on the ground or the floor, especially inside a building. In addition, any absorbed hydrogen sulphide does not accumulate in the body as it is rapidly metabolised in the liver and excreted in the urine. 

The problems with sewer odour inside buildings are often related to the drainage system’s venting, which requires filters. Over the years at Whywait Plumbing, we have tried many different filter systems and non-return valves with varying degrees of success in controlling sewer odour. 

New research to develop a novel, eco-friendly filter to remove toxic gases from the air has found that a material made from used coffee grounds can sop up hydrogen sulphide gas. CCNY Chemical Engineering develops and tests materials that scrub toxic gases like hydrogen sulphide from the air in industrial facilities and pollution control plants. Similar to the grains of charcoal packed into water filter cartridges, the CCNY filters use a form of charcoal called activated carbon. 

The manufacturers of activated carbon producers already use materials like coal, wood, peat, fruit pits, and coconut shells to make filters. CCNY concluded that our modern coffee culture could supply an abundant source of eco-friendly organic waste. An added advantage is that coffee grounds also have a special ingredient that boosts their smell-fighting power. The stimulant that gives coffee its energy jolt, caffeine, also contains nitrogen. Nitrogen dramatically increases the carbon’s ability to clean hydrogen sulphide from the air through adsorption. 

Manufacturers traditionally have treated the carbon with nitrogen-rich chemicals such as ammonia, melamine, or even urea, the primary nitrogen-containing substance in urine. All of these treatments significantly increase the cost of adsorbents. Instead, CCNY carbonised coffee grounds turn them into charcoal by activation that fills the carbon with scores of minute holes about 10-30 angstroms in diameter and roughly equivalent to 10-30 hydrogen atom widths across. These densely packed pores are blanketed with nitrogen, perfect for capturing hydrogen sulphide molecules passing through. 

Trials are continuing on the filters with positive results so remember, next time you have a coffee, the grounds that made it can be developed into an environmentally sustainable green filter that can control the most nauseating odour of all – sewer odour.

Toilet Paper Is Blocking Your Drains

Toilet Paper Is Blocking Your Drains

Toilet paper is blocking your drains, and we know it for a fact at Whywait Plumbing. Blocked drain incidences have been increasing every year since 2005.

Whywait Plumbing has noted the upward trend of annual increases in the number of blocked drain occurrences that require clearing with high-pressure water jetting equipment since 2005, with even sharper increases since 2008.

This has generally been attributed to the advent of low-flow dual flush toilets, especially the 4.5/3 litre toilet suites.

Your house drain that connects to the sewer was designed when water flows were much more substantial than they are now. Traditionally a toilet flush was 11 litres, and this flow was supplemented by inflows from the bathroom, kitchen and laundry. Prior to legislative changes in 2007, a shower deluged you with a flow of 25 litres per minute now that is 9 litres. Taps in the remainder of the house all had substantial flow rates of 20 – 25 litres per minute, but now that is 6 litres per minute.

Consequently, it made sense that the 70% reduction in water flows was the cause of this rapid increase in blocked drains. Naturally, this made complete sense in homes and business premises that were new or had upgraded their taps and toilets. But why were we seeing an increase where no such upgrades had occurred? Over the last year, Whywait Plumbing Services, like many other plumbing companies, began noticing, when undertaking a CCTV survey of a drain, large clumps of toilet paper that had not broken down in the water.

This issue with toilet paper has now reached a point where the National Plumbing Regulators have had a NATA laboratory undertaking research on the varying degrees of toilet paper quality and its influence on flow performance down a drain. Results to date are concerning as over 20 commercially available toilet paper brands were evaluated in full performance testing. There were an excessive number of these toilet papers whose performance in the poor break down in water can potentially cause more blockages than others.

It’s interesting to note that none of the toilet paper culprits that have an increased potential to cause blockages is locally manufactured. Its even more interesting that the Federal Government has a committee investigating the dumping of commodities by China into Australia and one of these commodities is toilet paper. It is doubtful whether Coles and Woolworths are too concerned about what happens to this cheap toilet they import once it passes through their checkouts. Who knows what these toilet papers are really manufactured from?

These cheap toilet papers dominate in commercial buildings where contract cleaning companies install the cheapest toilet paper they can purchase. This has resulted in alarming increases in blockages in commercial buildings.

So next time when you pick up that packet of toilet paper that is on special in the supermarket just have a look to see where it is manufactured or you may unknowingly be purchasing a blocked drain at the same time.

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