An Icon worker clearing a sewer. Photo: water icon.

CANBERRA is one of Australia’s worst cities for sewer breaks and blockages – largely caused by wet wipes, according to the National Capital Water Department.

According to Icon Water, Canberra is one of the worst for the total number of sewer line breaks and chokes per 100 miles of mains, with $1.7 million spent clearing blockages in 2019- 2020.

With over 48,000 trees lining Canberra’s streets, tree roots often creep into sewer lines in search of water.

The icon indicates that many blockages occur when wet wipes get stuck or tangled with tree roots.

“Wipes cause all sorts of problems in our wastewater treatment plants where they have to be removed manually,” says Davina McCormick, general manager of Icon Water.

In an effort to reduce the number of sewer blockages, Icon Water has launched its Release the poo game alerting Canberrans to the threat the wipes pose to its vital infrastructure.

“Sewer blockages are a significant problem that costs money and time to solve, so we are reaching out to the community of Canberra through this original and interactive campaign to help us protect our sewer system from things that shouldn’t be there,” McCormick says.

Launching on World Water Day (March 22), the game – available at iconwater.com.au/game – sees players heading into the sewage system to destroy wet wipes blocking the pipes .

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Ian Meikle, editor