Enormous 'ragberg' pulled from sewers

Published: 15 May 2020

Council is once again reminding residents to only flush the three Ps down the toilet: Pee, Poo and (toilet) Paper.

The reminder comes as more than three tonnes of solid waste material – or a ragberg – was pulled from the Mackay City No. 1 pump station at Sydney St on Wednesday (May 13).

Engineering and Commercial Infrastructure director Jason Devitt said 12 loads of the ragbergs were extracted in a four-hour operation.

“When items such as paper towel and wet wipes are flushed down the toilet they become a solid which has the potential to choke the sewer network.

“When the system becomes choked with the matted solids it can overflow into the environment causing harm and also a risk to public health,” he said.

Mr Devitt said a hydraulic grapple connected to a crane was used to remove the massive ragbergs from the sewer system.

“About 12 loads were removed to a skip bin and transferred to landfill, where all material besides the three Ps should end up,” Mr Devitt said.

“Council has cleared 620 chokes and partial chokes of various sizes in the sewer network in the last 12 months. This equates to a cost to ratepayers of about $250,000.

“It’s an expensive exercise,” he said.

Mr Devitt said 95 percent of the ragberg was wet wipes with the rest consisting of a variety of foreign objects.

“These items not only cause havoc in our sewer system but also can potentially affect the householder by causing internal blockages and broken pipes.

“This can result in sewage overflows into your property and can be costly to repair,” he said.

Residents are asked to bin the wipes and paper towel.

For more information visit council’s website mackay.qld.gov.au/wastewater.