BUSINESS owners in Askeaton have been urged to think before they flush unsuitable items down the toilets.
Traders across the West Limerick town have been given leaflets by Irish Water warning of the impact this can have on Irish wastewater systems and the local environment.
Think Before You Flush addresses the issue of flushing unsuitable items down the toilet and highlights the consequences of doing so, such as blockages in the wastewater network and treatment plants, surface water overflows and sewage related litter impacting rivers, beaches, oceans and damaging our marine environment.
Many toiletries, such as wipes, cotton pads and dental floss, are part of what the utility has called the dirty dozen, the 12 items incorrectly flushed down the toilet in Ireland.
Other items include hair, paper towels, medicine, tampons, food items, contact lenses, condoms, cigarette butts and cotton bud sticks.
In a kitchen setting, when fats, oils and greases from cooking are poured down the kitchen sink, they cool and harden as they travel along the wastewater network. When these combine with wipes and other sewage related litter such as hair and dental floss that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, fatbergs can form.
Irish Water clears hundreds of blockages including fatbergs from the wastewater network every week.
Tom Cuddy, Irish Water said: “Our operational staff in Askeaton have started to experience a significant strain on the wastewater infrastructure due to large volumes of fats oils and greases, wipes and associated sanitary waste being disposed of incorrectly into our network. This is resulting in significant operational difficulties for our staff and the plant. We are asking everyone living and visiting Askeaton to be very conscious of the impact their flushing and pouring behaviour can have on their local wastewater networks and treatment plants and would ask that they dispose of fatty and other products such as wipes and sanitary waste correctly. "
Nationally in 2021, Irish Water responded to approximately 10,000 customer notified blockages, that's around 200 every week and removed 162 tonnes of wipes and other items from the screens at wastewater treatment plants every month - close to 2,000 tonnes each year.
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