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Blocked pipes send money down the drain

WEIRD FINDS: Adam Harnett often finds strange objects blocking drains.
WEIRD FINDS: Adam Harnett often finds strange objects blocking drains.

UNDERWEAR, golf balls, children's toys, wet cement and kitty litter are among the common household items blocking south-west residents' drains and costing them $280 upwards to repair.

GRK Plumbing maintenance manager Adam Harnett said he received call outs for blocked drains at least 10 times a week.

"The most common things we find are tree roots, sanitary items, nappies and the odd toys," Mr Harnett said.

"The weirdest thing I found was a possum.

"It got into the 100mm vent on top of the roof and fell or tried to get in and got stuck in the drain."

He said tree roots did the most damage and could cost residents about $1000 to repair.

"Once tree roots are in, unless people get the pipe dug up and repaired, we have got to go back their house at least once a year to get the tree roots out again," Mr Harnett said.

"A lot of people just want to take the tree away, but the problem is the tree roots have access into the drain already.

"It's an ongoing issue to rectify until the client digs it up and repairs it, which can also be costly."

Mr Harnett said the kitchen was another problem area.

"Sometimes, there's a build up of grease from the kitchen where people are washing grease down the sink," he said.

"Eventually the trap outside gets blocked up."

In 2010, the equivalent of nine double-decker buses filled with solid fat clogged London's sewer system after years of hot fats and oils were disposed down drains by oblivious residents and businesses.

The reminder to consider what you flush, came as Urban Utilities launched its new educational campaign called Think at the Sink this month.

Queensland Urban Utilities executive director of retail, Helen Harding said disposing the wrong things down sinks, pipes and toilets could be harmful to residents' private plumbing infrastructure and result in unexpected repair bills.


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