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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.

Should I be worried about hearing a gurgling sound in my wall?

Should I be worried about hearing a gurgling sound in my wall?

Bathroom pipe noises are more common than you think

Do you hear strange noises coming from your bathroom pipes? Don’t worry. You’re not alone.

In fact, unless you attend parties in a submarine or a haunted mansion, you’re likely to hear a symphony of sounds every day in your bathroom. From squealing to shrieking, trickling to gurgling, and banging to splashing, it’s a veritable concert of chaos.

And the best part is that 90% of your plumbing infrastructure is hiding behind walls, floors, ceilings, and underground, making it a true mystery to locate the source of the sounds. In older homes, the lack of sound insulation on pipes only amplifies the situation, creating a cacophony of clatter that would make a rock band blush.

However, fear not, as we are here to help you solve the mystery of what’s causing those weird, bizarre noises when you’re not even in the bathroom. So, grab your detective hat and magnifying glass, and let’s investigate!

Gurgling Sound

1- Problem :

Do you hear a gurgling sound coming from your drains? Don’t worry. It’s not your plumbing trying to tell you a joke. Well, unless you’re the client who once claimed their gurgling toilet was sarcastically mocking them. In that case, we tip our hats to your imaginative description, but we’re here to tell you that gurgling sounds are pretty common in plumbing.

Typically, these sounds originate from your drains, with the toilet pan or bathroom floor waste overflow being the usual suspects. Sometimes, the source of the gurgles can even be your overflow relief gully outside, which is not as exciting as finding a lost treasure, but still worth investigating. So, if your drains sound like a tuba player warming up, call us, and we’ll help you silence the noise.

2 – Risk of damage :

Do you hear a gurgling sound that won’t shut up? Well, that’s a sign that your plumbing might be plotting against you. Just kidding, but it’s not a good sign, either.

In fact, if you hear gurgling sounds continually, it’s a red flag that your plumbing might be on the verge of a meltdown. And if your toilet is slow to drain, like a sloth in a marathon, followed by a chorus of gurgles, then you might as well start waving the white flag. This clearly indicates that your risk level is spiking faster than a stock market crash.

Why? Because a slow-draining or gurgling toilet is either a partially blocked toilet or a blocked sewer drain, both of which can lead to a messy situation. If you keep hearing gurgles after you flush the toilet, take a shower, or run your washing machine, the chances of having an overflow of sewerage outside increase faster than a balloon filled with too much air.

And if that’s not bad enough, you might even have a sewerage overflow inside your house, which is the plumbing equivalent of a nightmare. So, please don’t wait until it’s too late. Instead, call us ASAP, and we’ll save you from a plumbing apocalypse.

3 – Diagnosing a gurgling sound :

Do you want to know what a gurgling sound means?

Imagine your plumbing system as a set of lungs trying to take a breath but failing miserably. Yes, that’s what gurgling sounds are: your sewer drains are having an asthma attack.

It’s a cry for help, a plea for air, a sign that your plumbing needs attention. If you hear a gurgle once or twice, it’s like your plumbing system just coughed and cleared its throat.

But you’re in trouble if you keep hearing it like a chronic smoker with a persistent cough. You’re in so much trouble that you should call us immediately before you have a disaster.

Trust us, blocked sewer drains are not for the faint-hearted. They make a mess that’s more unpleasant than a bad haircut, and that’s saying something. So, don’t wait until your plumbing is gasping for air. Instead, give us a call, and we’ll give your plumbing a breath of fresh air.

4 – Gurgling sound solutions :

What do overflowing sewerage and procrastination have in common? They’re both terrible ideas that will come back to haunt you.

So, if you’re dealing with blocked drains, don’t be tempted to Google DIY remedies like it’s a recipe for a cake. Trust us, and it’s not. DIY remedies only delay the inevitable, like trying to stop a leak with a roll of duct tape. It rarely works and only makes things worse.

Speaking of things getting worse, overflowing sewerage is no laughing matter. A health and safety hazard can make your family, employees, work colleagues, and neighbours run for the hills. So, don’t wait until the gurgling sound becomes a “number two” emergency. Instead, call us, and we’ll take care of your blocked drain problems quickly and effectively.

After all, we’re the plumbers who know how to flush your troubles away.

Squealing Noises

1 – Problem :

Have you ever heard a high-pitched squeal coming from your taps or pipes? It’s like a bat in your plumbing, trying to communicate with you. Don’t worry, you’re not going crazy. It’s a common problem that occurs when you use a tap or flush the toilet cistern.

And the best part? It always sounds much worse at night, like a screaming baby that won’t shut up.

Squealing noises are a high-pitched symphony of irritation.

2 – Risk of damage :

So, what’s the risk of damage? Most of the time, it’s minimal, like a mosquito buzzing in your ear.

For the most part, the squeals and shrieks are an irritant. But don’t be fooled. These sounds won’t go away. Instead, they will only worsen, like a bad houseguest who overstays their welcome.

3 – Diagnosing squealing sounds :

If you want to diagnose the problem in your taps, here’s a tip: it’s usually the tap washers or O-rings that are worn out, or the spindle lacks lubricant.

And if you have mixer taps, the mixing cartridge is likely the problem. If it’s your toilet cistern, then it’s either the cistern tap or the water inlet valve.

And if it’s the hot water valves, you’re in for a treat. Unfortunately, locating and repairing the source of the transmitted noise from hot water valves can be more frustrating than finding a needle in a haystack.

4 – Squealing sound solutions :

So, what’s the solution? If it’s the taps, you can try replacing the washer yourself, but if that doesn’t work, then call us in. Stripping and replacing mixer cartridges is not recommended for beginners.

And if it’s the hot water valves, then you need to call us because I guarantee the problem will only worsen and potentially damage other valves. Trust us, we’re the plumbers who know how to turn down the volume on your plumbing’s high-pitched symphony of irritation.

Banging Noises

1 – Problem :

Have you ever heard a loud bang when you turn on or off a tap?

It’s like a rock concert in your plumbing. Unfortunately, moving water in copper pipes always has the potential to create sound, like a drum set in your walls.

And the most common loud bang will come from a tap being turned on or off, like a cymbal crash.

But if you hear sharp banging or hammering, then in all likelihood, your copper water reticulation pipes are trying to play the drums.

2 – Risk of damage :

So, what’s the risk of damage? Ignoring banging sounds is definitely a risk.

A water hammer has the potential to flood your home, like a mosh pit gone wrong. It can break pipes or damage flexihoses, fittings, taps, and appliances like a rogue crowd surfer.

And if you hear a ticking sound that increases in intensity and diminishes, that’s the sound of pipe thermal expansion, like your plumbing system is trying to do a slow, rhythmic dance.

3 – Diagnosing banging sounds :

So, what’s the solution? First, you need to diagnose the problem, which is usually caused by faulty taps, broken tap washers, or poorly clipped pipes and can be accentuated by excessive water pressure. And if you hear any noise, it’s like an early warning system telling you to rectify the problem before damage occurs.

If you hear a ticking sound that increases in intensity and then diminishes, that is the sound generated by pipe thermal expansion and is often heard throughout the house.

This is caused by the pipe heating up when the hot tap is turned on as the hot water replaces the cold water and then cools down.

Water hammer tends to be highlighted in copper water pipes but still exists in plastic piping systems, but frequently it is diminished greatly as the plastic pipe absorbs the sounds.

4 – Banging sound solutions :

The banging from the water hammer creates a shock wave which creates enormous pressure moving at 1280 meters per second inside your pipes.

Your plumbing reticulation pipes, taps, valves and appliances are all susceptible to damage created by the impact of shock waves, even if you hear no noise.

The noise is essentially an early warning system telling you to rectify the problem before damage occurs.

Plumbing Problems: More Than Just Strange Noises

So, we’ve covered the weird and wonderful sounds you might hear from your plumbing infrastructure, like gurgling toilets, squealing taps, and banging pipes.

But there are also plenty of symptoms of plumbing issues that don’t require funny or strange noises to originate from your bathroom, like leakages and drips from taps and pipes, like a kitchen mixer tap that won’t stop singing. And if the water isn’t draining correctly down the sink, the bath, the shower, and especially down the toilet, then it’s like a traffic jam in your plumbing system.

So, what’s the solution? Look and always listen, and don’t wait until the situation becomes a plumbing emergency. If in doubt, call us, and we’ll ensure your plumbing problems are resolved quickly and efficiently, like a superhero who saves the day. After all, we’re the plumbers who know how to keep your plumbing system running smoothly without any strange noises or traffic jams.

Gurgling Drains

Gurgling Drains

Gurgling drains are a warning sign

Gurgling drains or gurgling toilets should never be ignored. A gurgling drain or gurgling toilet is giving you a friendly early warning sign that you are possibly about to experience blocked sewer drains.

Generally, the sounds of gurgling drains will be coming from your toilet or the bathroom floor waste drainage trap when you are using other plumbing fixtures. Simplistically, gurgling drains are similar to you experiencing an asthma attack because the drain is struggling to breathe.

Gurgling drains are trying to breath

gurgling drains caused by roots in drain repaired by Whywait Plumbing

Whywait Plumbing CCTV drain camera locating roots in a drain that were causing gurgling drains

When you experience gurgling drains or a gurgling toilet what has occurred in your underground sewer drains is that the drains are full of wastewater that is blocking or partially blocking the drains vent pipe that connects from your drain and extends up above your roof.

Therefore when you use any of your plumbing because the vent is not letting the drain breath, the drain creates a vacuum. The vacuum affects the trapping system in the toilet pan or floor waste trap or occasionally a laundry tub or overflow relief gully in an attempt to get air. Usually, only part of the water in the fixture trap is sucked out leaving the remainder of the water in the trap and it this water movement that causes the gurgling drains as air is sucked into the drain.

The interconnecting plumbing and sewer drainage system in your home is a straightforward system, but it must be able to breathe and get air into the system through your vent pipes. Many people believe that the vent pipe is a stink pipe to remove smelly sewer odours from the sewer drain. This is partially correct but the vent pipes other job is to equalise air pressures within your sewer drains and give you a balanced system that allows wastewater to flow.

Very simply whenever you flush the toilet or have a shower or turn your washing machine on the wastewater immediately runs into your sewer drains. Instantly in the drain, you get water and air displacement with a vacuum being created behind the flowing water that sucks air into the drain to equalise the pressure in your drain and allows the water to flow.

Gurgling drains should never ever be ignored as they seldom go away and should be investigated immediately by calling Whywait Plumbing now on (07) 5580 4311.


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.