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Council Says Be Prepared For Sewage ‘Blow Back’

Cleaning sewer mains with high pressure water jets is one of life’s necessities, like mowing the lawn or washing the car. Unfortunately it’s a job that is not without risk.

Over the coming months Marlborough District Council is carrying out a programme of sewer mains cleaning, initially focussed on Picton.The cleaning and inspection programme is part of work to survey and maintain the condition of the wastewater network.

Operations and Maintenance Engineer Stephen Rooney says that occasionally during the cleaning process ‘blow back’ occurs when water is pushed back up through a toilet.

“It’s very unpleasant and distressing, especially if you happen to be sitting on the loo at the time,” Mr Rooney says.

“Fortunately it’s a very rare occurrence, but it does happen.”

To help people get prepared, Mr Rooney encourages residents to check their letterbox for a notice about when the Council is cleaning the sewer mains in their area.

“I also encourage people to sign up to the Antenno app, which is regularly updated saying which streets we are working on.”

Antenno is a free mobile app that sends notifications and alerts based on locations chosen by the user. It’s simple to use and no personal information or login details are required. It can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. Information is also available on the Council’s website at https://www.marlborough.govt.nz/services/apps/antenno

When Council is working in their street, people are advised to keep the toilet seat down and put a towel under the seat lid while their area is worked on.

“Some councils advise putting a weight like a brick on the lid or using cling film instead of the towel.”

Mr Rooney said the objective of the cleaning programme was to find tree roots, blockages and pipes damaged by earth movement in the wastewater system. A programme to repair any problems found will follow.

“Blockages are a serious problem - it’s something we need to look out for on a regular basis.”

“Also, please don’t flush wet wipes down the toilet - they cause blockages because they don’t break down naturally. Don’t put oil or fat down the sink either - it can accumulate into ‘fatbergs’ which block the pipes.”

© Scoop Media

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