Icon Water targets wet wipe scourge

by Billie Jo Ropiha on Mar 26, 2022

Icon Water targets wet wipe scourge

CANBERRA is one of the worst Australian cities for sewer breaks and blockages – largely caused by wet wipes, according to the national capital’s water utility.

Icon Water says Canberra ranked as one of the worst when it came to total sewer main breaks and chokes per 100 kilometres of pipes, with $1.7 million being spent to clear blockages in 2019-2020.

With more than 48,000 trees lining Canberra’s streets, tree roots often creep into sewerage pipes in search of water.

Icon says that many blockages occur when wet wipes get caught or entangled with tree roots.

“Wipes cause all kinds of issues at our wastewater treatment plants where they have to be manually removed,” says Icon Water General Manager Davina McCormick.

In a bid to reduce the amount of sewer blockages Icon Water has launched its Free the Poo game alerting Canberrans of the threat that wipes pose to its vital infrastructure.

“Sewer blockages are a significant issue costing money and time to fix, so we are looking to the Canberra community through this quirky and interactive campaign to help us protect our sewerage network from things that shouldn’t be there,” says Ms McCormick.

Launched on World Water Day (March 22), the game – available at – lets players head down into the wastewater network to destroy the wet wipes blocking pipes.