Whywait Plumbing have noted the upward trend of annual increases in the amount of blocked drains 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 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 are 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 its passed through their checkouts. Who knows what these toilet papers are really manufactured from?
These cheap toilet papers are dominant 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.
By Gary Mays