15 August 2021

Bega Valley Shire residents urged to close toilet lids and clear gully traps ahead of sewage jetting

| James Coleman
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Toilet with lid closed

Bega Valley Shire residents are being urged to keep their toilet lids closed during upcoming sewage jetting maintenance to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Photo: Alex Simpson/Unsplash.

Sewage jetting is starting in Bega Valley next week, and residents are being asked to take some simple steps to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises.

The scheduled maintenance program will use high-pressure water to clear sewage infrastructure of blockages and debris, which on rare occasions can result in a situation called ‘blowback’, where sewerage comes back up through the pipes.

Bega Valley Shire Council’s water and sewer services manager, Chris Best, said residents should start preparing by seeking out and inspecting their overflow relief gullies, or ‘gully traps’.

“Gully traps are typically found in the yard,” he said. “They are small and round, protruding from the ground and usually covered with a plastic grille that is designed to pop off if there is a problem in the sewer system.

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“Plumbers install these gully traps to deal with issues such as blowback so any backwash ends up in the garden rather than the bathroom floor.

“It’s vital that gully traps are not overgrown with grass, or obstructed by something heavy such as a pot plant or paving slab.”

Mr Best said keeping gully traps unobstructed and toilet lids closed is a good way to “keep everything where it should be”.

“Jetting is one of the processes Bega Valley Shire Council uses to reduce blockages caused by roots, debris and things that have no place in a sewer.”

Gully trap

Check that your ‘gully trap’ is unobstructed. Photo: Bega Valley Shire Council.

The maintenance will also be an opportunity for council to monitor inappropriate use of the sewage system, with blockages commonly arising from items such as nappies, wet wipes and oils that have found their way into the network.

“Prevention of blockages plays a big part in protecting local environments from spills, and it’s important to understand that flushing inappropriate items down the toilet will not make them go away,” said Mr Best.

There are only three things that can be flushed down the toilet: urine, faeces and toilet paper. In other words, the ‘three Ps’: pee, poo and paper.

The Bega Valley Shire covers an area of approximately 6052 square kilometres and is one of the largest coastal shires in NSW. There are 10 sewage systems that provide services to 18 towns, villages and localities within this area.

All the wastewater in the town of Bega is brought to a single treatment plant via a conventional gravity and pump sewage system. Non-biodegradable materials have to be removed for the natural breakdown process to work.

Residents in the affected areas are being contacted directly with details of how to prepare for the jetting program.

Jetting will commence in the Bega area on Tuesday, 17 August, and wrap up on Friday, 10 September. Jetting will take place from Monday to Friday between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm, and on Saturdays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

For enquiries about the jetting process, please contact Bega Valley Shire Council’s water and sewage services team on 02 6499 2222.

If you cannot find your gully trap, or suspect it is blocked, please contact your local plumber for advice and service.

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