Urban Utilities recent research into ‘flushable’ wet wipes has claimed an Australian Water Association prize

How much do you think about what goes down your loo?

What’s flushable and what’s not was one of the topics of discussion at the recent Australian Water Association Conference in Cairns.

Urban Utilities Trade Waste Officer Chantal Keane won the award for Best Paper of the conference for her report, ‘The 60-Year Journey to the Development of an Australian Flushability Standard’.

Chantal’s work sought to measure the flushability of wet wipes and introduce a new Australian Standard to prevent non-flushable varieties clogging up sewer systems and wastewater treatment plants.

“Urban Utilities was in a really good position to create the standard because we have the world’s longest replica sewer main – around 1.2 kilometres,” said Chantal. “We tested brands from the UK, USA, New Zealand, Japan… We also tested toilet paper, paper towels and other things that might end up down a toilet. It took around 18 months of trials, and one badly blocked lab sink!”

The judges found Chantal’s presentation ‘an inspiring and interesting exploration of such a hot topic’. Chantal and her team are currently setting up the lab to begin wide-scale testing of wipes, and already have manufacturers knocking on the door. In the meantime, she encourages people to be mindful about what they put down the toilet. “Just flush the three ‘P’s. It’s a lot easier that way!”

Look out for the flushability tick of approval on wet wipes and other products soon.

Chantal’s conference abstract can be found here and the presentation here.