VIDEO: Australia’s Wastewater Treatment Plants Struggling with Daily Wipes Mess

Guardian Australia visits wastewater treatment plants around the country to uncover the struggle everyone is dealing with: Wet Wipes and non-flushables.

Left: Interviewers for Guardian took a trip to Sydney Water for a look inside the wastewater facility and how they deal with the wipes problem. Luke Justus, a Process Controller for Sydney Water discusses the frustration of wipes clogs: “The first indication we’ll get is that we will suddenly have three or four screens fail on the master control system, we send people down to look, we open the hatch and just see crap; wipes and sewage and congealed fatty material all tangled around each other and tangled around the screen so the only way to deal with it is manually so it’s people with claws and rakes and shovels trying to get this stuff out.”

Right: Staff for the Guardian show FOG encrusted piping during a plant tour at Malabar Wastewater Treatment. Operators at the plant stress that the hard mass of FOG and wipes narrows the piping and is extremely difficult to remove, causing hours of manual labor to chip away and clear the debris.