Baby wipes put in Dunmanway loos causing problems

June 29th, 2018 10:06 PM

By Siobhan Cronin

Paddy O'Brien, 7, a first class pupil in St Mary's Junior School performing an experiment during the visit by Irish Water staff to the school.

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BABY wipes being flushed down toilets in Dunmanway are causing issues in the wastewater network in the town, Irish Water said this week.

The problems were flagged by the facility’s operations team during a visit to local schools.

Irish Water staff paid a visit to St Mary’s Junior School and Girls Senior School in Dunmanway to talk about the important role the public can play in protecting the local environment by being more careful about what is flushed down the toilet.

‘Think Before You Flush’ was the key message for Dunmanway students who learned all about common items that are flushed down the toilet, but can cause blockages in sewers and water treatment plants, and can lead to pollution of the marine environment.

Among the worst offenders are baby wipes, cotton wool buds, nappies, plasters and cigarettes.  These items don’t break down in waste water and as a result can cause severe blockages in the sewer network and treatment plants. They can also end up getting into our rivers, lakes and oceans and cause harm to fish and other marine life.

During their visit, the team from Irish Water performed simple experiments, comparing what happens when toilet tissue and wet wipes are flushed down the toilet.

The message was simple: The only things that should be flushed down the toilet are the three P’s – pee, poo and paper. Everything else should go in the bin.

The pupils were enthusiastic in their support for the ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign and agreed to help Irish Water spread this message to the wider community in Dunmanway.

Aisling Buckley of Irish Water said the utility was delighted to have the opportunity to visit the pupils in Dunmanway. ‘We got a lovely warm welcome and it was very heartening to see how much the pupils care about their local environment and want to do everything they can to protect it,’ she said. ‘We spoke to the pupils about the ‘Nasty Nine’ items that should never be flushed down the toilet and should be binned instead. Irish Water’s Operations team flagged that there are operational issues in the wastewater network in Dunmanway, due to baby wipes being flushed down the toilet. We asked the students in St Mary’s to help us with our communications campaign by telling their families, friends and neighbours all about the Nasty Nine.’

She said that she was encouraged by their enthusiastic response. ‘We all have a role to play in protecting our precious local environment by being more careful with what we put into our toilets and down our sinks,’ she added. For more on preventing blockages see http://thinkbeforeyouflush.

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