A survey conducted by Melbourne Water shows that people are increasingly using their toilets as aquatic rubbish bins, with cotton wool and sanitary items regularly making their way passed the S bend.


The recent Newspoll found that 14 per cent of Melburnians flush cotton wool down the toilet, while eight per cent thing its okay to flush sanitary items such as tampons and pads. Five per cent of respondents thought that it was okay to flush cotton buds down the toilet, while one per cent thought the toilet was a viable method of disposing of nappies.


Melbourne Water’s General Manager of Asset Planning, Paul Pretto, said that while most people dispose of their rubbish responsibly, other waste in toilets and drains can cause sewer blockages and potentially costly repairs.


"The sorts of things you flush down your toilet or pour down your sink can have a major effect on the cost of treating sewage," said Dr Pretto.


"Any materials that don’t dissolve easily in water, such as cotton buds and plastic wrappers, can cause blockages in household drains or get trapped in our treatment plants and must be removed."


Melbourne Water uses large screening units at the Eastern Treatment Plant to trap rubbish and other unwanted items before they enter the sewerage treatment process. Around six tonnes of rubbish is removed from sewage every day at the plant.