Under our houses, shops and factories there is a set of pipes separate to the ones that bring us water. These pipes collect our used water and direct it toward the water reclamation facility where the wastewater is cleaned and treated. After treatment approximately 65% of this treated water is used by industries while the remainder goes into Gowrie Creek where it can be used for irrigation or in other towns to be used as their raw water.

Surprisingly, wastewater is virtually all water. In fact, 99.95% water. So a 20 litre drum of wastewater arriving at the plant contains less than a tablespoon of dirt. Although the wastewater is almost all water, it contains many different kinds of pollutants including solids (human waste, kitchen scraps, toilet paper, grease and oils, plastic bags, needles), dissolved substances (dissolved nutrients, organic matter, detergents, chemicals) and microscopic organisms (worms, amoeba, bacteria, viruses).

More detailed information about the water treatment process is available in our education brochures which can be obtained by contacting us.


Minding your wastewater

Putting the wrong thing down the toilet and sink can cause blockages and breakdowns in our wastewater systems. This can lead to unnecessary expense, reduced treatment efficiency and environmental problems.

When considering what to flush down the toilet it’s quite simple to remember; the only things that should be flushed down the toilet are human waste and toilet paper. 

It's a good idea to place a bin in the toilet for the disposal of things like cotton buds, condoms and tampon wrappers e.t.c.

Can flush:

  • Human waste
  • Toilet paper

Can’t flush:

  • Flushable wipes
  • Tissues
  • Fats, oils, greases
  • Paper towels
  • Big chunks of waste
  • Sand
  • Plastics
  • Toys
  • Animal parts
  • Grass
  • Goldfish
  • Metals
  • Cat litter (including ‘flushable’ cat litter)
  • Tampons and sanitary napkins
  • Disposable diapers
  • Anything radioactive
  • Fertiliser, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides
  • Condoms
  • Flammable or explosive liquids, solids or gases
  • Automotive chemicals

Pouring the wrong substances down the drain not only has the potential to cause issues for household pipes and septic systems, but also can hurt our natural water ecosystems and their inhabitants too.

Avoid tipping these down the drain:

  • Fats, oils, greases - these will quickly cool and solidify in your home's drains causing blockages
  • Coffee grounds
  • Vegetable peelings and other scraps - these clog the system

Ways to avoid blockages in the kitchen

  • Try using paper towels to absorb liquid fats and throw in the bin
  • Use a sink strainer to catch scraps or put scraps in a bin or compost system

Allowing the wrong substances to flow down the pipes can cause damage to the environment, corrode your pipes and pose a serious health threat to workers maintaining the sewerage system.

Avoid allowing these to flow down the drain:

  • Paints
  • Pesticides
  • Oils
  • Hazardous chemicals

Where to dispose of these products

Chemical and oil wastes can be disposed of at our waste management facilities

To keep our wastewater healthy and make disposing of paint easy, we suggest using water based paints. Always squeeze and brush out excess paint on a newspaper or rag before cleaning the brush. For water-based paints, wash brushes in one bucket of water and rinse in another. Let the paint settle overnight then tip the water onto the garden or a grassed area.

For oil based paints, clean brushes in turpentine. Allow the waste mixture to evaporate to sludge and then dispose in the bin.

Stormwater drains need to be separate from the sewerage system to ensure the wastewater system doesn't become overworked. If stormwater is directed into the sewerage network, during rain, this can cause sewer overflow grates to release with a excess flow.

Occasionally property owners mistakenly direct the flow from their downpipes or divert excess water from pools or their yard to the nearest drain, not realising it is part of the sewerage network. These are illegal connections. If downpipes or stormwater diversions are located close to your sewerage pipe or appear to drain into it, it's likely you have an illegal connection. To check this, you can access the property drainage plans from us which will indicate where the sewerage pipes are located on your property.


Related document

TRC Customer Service Standards 2019