Adelaide sewers glean a pristine clean

More than 250 kilometres of Adelaide’s sewer mains have enjoyed a clean over the past 12 months, as SA Water steps up its proactive maintenance to help reduce blockages and overflows in hotspot suburbs.

More than 250 kilometres of Adelaide sewers have enjoyed a clean over the past 12 months as SA Water steps up its proactive maintenance to help reduce blockages and overflows in hotspot suburbs.

This initiative is part of the utility’s increased investment of $2.2 million per year. It targets 23 suburbs, which experience a higher number of sewer incidents.

SA Water’s Senior Manager of Production and Treatment, Lisa Hannant, said the preventative cleaning led to a 20 per cent reduction in overflows across these targeted suburbs during the past year.

Keeping Adelaide sewers clean and healthy

“Keeping our sewers healthy is a shared responsibility and expanding our sewer cleaning program is one of the initiatives we’re investing in to help reduce the risk of pipe blockages and unsightly overflows,” Hannant said.

“We continually track sewer overflows to identify the worst performing suburbs across the metropolitan area. This is particularly where it’s resulted in sewage entering the environment, such as a creek or reserve.

“Typically, these areas are in the foothills and experience more blockages due to tree roots. Tree roots are the leading cause of this type of incident. Thirsty roots break into sewer pipes looking for water and continue to grow. They block the sewage flow to our treatment plants.

“Our crews deploy ‘jet rodders’ – hoses operated at high pressure. They use water power to dislodge and cut through blockages in suspect pipes. Staff then conduct CCTV inspections to assess the impact of the cleaning and structural integrity of the sewer main.

“They also use additional attachments, such as a root saw, to safely break down roots without impacting the tree’s health and limiting further growth.

“We’re able to achieve the greatest impact by targeting hotspots to prevent overflows from happening in the first place, helping keep your ones and twos in the pipes while protecting the environment.”

Adelaide sewers hate fatbergs

Ms Hannant said more than a quarter of blockages are caused by things that shouldn’t have been flushed.

“These ‘unflushables’ include cooking fats and oils, condoms, tampons and wet wipes. They are usually found blocking a customer’s connection point. It increases the risk of an overflow inside their home,” Lisa said.

“Only ever flush the three Ps – pee, poo and (toilet) paper. Diverting cooking oil and food scraps to the bin will help customers protect their pipes and avoid these situations.”

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