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Environment Technology
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Your first choice in wastewater management
Your first choice in wastewater management

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FLUSHABLE WIPES? YEAH RIGHT!
Water NZ Journal No. 188, March 2015, includes an article entitled “Problems with Flushable Wipes”. This article referred to the incidence of “serious and costly maintenance issues for wastewater systems” both within sewerage reticulation and treatment plants. Author Nick Walmsley, Technical Manager at Water NZ, says the international experience “suggests NZ water authorities should take a proactive approach to managing the risk before the flushable wipe market is established and significant negative maintenance impacts are experienced”. Nick writes that it is time for “the water utilities, plumbing and drainage industries to band together to lobby against the use of flushable wipes"
Regarding the impacts of flushable wipes on on-site wastewater systems On-Site NewZ has noted a range of comments from a recent email trail going the rounds. For example:
• Consulting Engineer John Cocks comments that Department of Conservation personnel have reported blockages at DoC facilities from flushable wipes.
• Andrew Dakers of ecoEng notes that on-site wastewater servicing colleagues have found flushable wipes a major problem in septic tanks and home treatment plants. Andrew strongly advises homeowners to avoid flushing such wipes into their on-site wastewater system.
• Oasis Clearwater states that their servicing agents are finding these wipes do not break down, and are having to pull them out of treatment units during service. Oasis Servicing Manager Tina Nyberg says they highly recommend to customers not to use them.
• Consultant Malcolm Linton has had a wastewater pump burnout caused by wipes wrapping around the pump.
On-Site NewZ has checked out one brand of flushable wipes from a local supermarket, and noted the following statements on its packaging:
PRECIOUS Flushable Wipes
Manufactured in China by an ISO9001 accredited facility for Sulco Ltd, PO Box 98845 Manukau City, Manukau 2241, New Zealand, precious@sulco.co.nz
Description:
The term “Biodergradable” is used on the packaging as one of five descriptors.
Instructions:
Open the resealable sticker and dispense one wipe at a time – take care our PRECIOUS Flushable Wipes are more fragile than baby wipes because they are designed to break up in the sewage system
Warning:
Flush one wipe at a time, use a full flush. These wipes are not designed for macerator toilets or use in septic tanks.
This product is specifically not for use in on-site wastewater systems, but the problem is, how many householders are really going to read the fine print and act accordingly? The fact that the company involved is not able to spell “biodegradable” properly raises a question re the integrity of the overall claims made for the product.
So, a quick response to the use of flushable wipes:
DO NOT FLUSH – DISCARD WIPES WITH HOUSEHOLD REFUSE 
 
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During the Land Treatment Collective conference in Wanaka attendees were treated to a field trip to the Wanaka Township Treatment Plant
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Environment Technology staffer Hazel Clemens (next to Harold Barnett from Horizons in the brown cowboy hat) participating in the Land Treatment Collective conference in Wanaka where her team (inspired by Rawhide) came joint first.
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Environment Technology were in Wanaka for the Land Treatment Collective conference in March when NASA launched their super pressure balloon
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Feature article on Advanced Enviro-Septic (AES) in NZ Plumber magazine
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2014-06-23
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