Burdekin residents are being urged to think before they empty the sink to help prevent oils and fats clogging drainage systems and sewage pump stations.
Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Bill Lowis said the cost of removing this sort of waste was an unnecessary burden on ratepayers.
“Council could save well over $10,000 a year if residents took a little more care in what they put down their drains or toilets,” he said.
“Our waste water team is finding substances like solidified cooking oil and fats, motor oils, and items such as rags, nappies and plastic bags in our sewage pump stations.
“These items clog up the pumps which in turn need to be pulled out and cleared and then we have to call in a vacuum truck to empty it out.
“This takes the truck about 1 to 2 hours to complete and costs Council $170 an hour.
“Council has 49 sewage pump stations, but there are 10 that we are regularly cleaning out due to the waste materials disposed of in sinks and toilets that build up in pump stations.
“Some of the pump stations are being cleaned out every six to eight weeks, so you can imagine the savings we would make if our residents took a little more care.”
Cr Lowis said cooking oils, fats and motor oil should be drained into a container for disposal at one of Council’s waste transfer stations.
“Nappies and rags should be placed in your residential red-lidded bin,” he said.
It is an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 to release a prescribed water contaminant into stormwater or roadside gutters or into any water. Oils, including petroleum or vegetable-based oils, are included in the list of prescribed water contaminants.
On-the-spot fines of $1767 for individuals and $8835 for corporations apply for the non -wilful release of oils and fats into Council’s sewerage system.
Courts can impose fines of up to $196,136 on those apprehended for wilfully putting oils into the drains or gutters.