Sewer blockages are caused by inappropriate items being flushed down toilets

Irish Water and Clean Coasts are launching the third year of the Think Before You Flush campaign. There has been an estimated 4,600 sewer blockages across the country this year due to inappropriate items being flushed down toilets. 

When the 3 Ps (pee, poo and paper) are flushed down the toilet they travel along the sewer network to wastewater treatment plants. However, every day people flush thousands of items such as wet wipes, cotton bud sticks, nappies and cotton wool pads down the toilet instead of putting them in a bin. Flushing these items can have a negative impact on internal plumbing in homes and businesses, the wastewater network and our marine environment.

The Think Before You Flush Communities

This year, 15 communities across the country have been selected to become Think Before You Flush Communities. Together with Clean Coasts we will be delivering educational workshops in schools, promoting the campaign at festivals and community events as well as working with local businesses to help raise awareness and provide advice.  

The 15 Think Before You Flush Communities are Dublin City, Blackrock, Co. Louth, Navan, Co. Meath, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, Cork City, Dunmanway, Co. Cork, Bantry, Co. Cork, Tramore, Co. Waterford, Waterford City, Galway City, Ahascraugh, Co. Galway, Strandhill, Co. Sligo, Bellmullet, Co. Mayo and Bundoran, Co. Donegal.

Speaking about the campaign, Irish Water Corporate Affairs Manager and Chartered Engineer, Kate Gannon, said “Irish Water is delighted to partner with Clean Coasts on this important educational campaign. Irish Water estimate that there have been over 4,600 sewer blockages across the country this year already. The size and scale of the impact of flushing the wrong items down the toilet is incredible.

We are investing in wastewater infrastructure across the country

We are investing in wastewater infrastructure right across the country. We are building new wastewater treatment plants, upgrading old plants and laying new sewers. However, it is still really important that people recognise the impact of what they flush so the network can function efficiently and effectively. Placing a bin in the bathroom and disposing of sanitary items safely and appropriately has a hugely positive impact on the network and the environment.” 

Speaking about the campaign Sinead McCoy, Clean Coasts Manager, added “Sewage related litter is one of the categories of waste we find on our beaches, however, its presence is preventable through some simple measures. Through this campaign we are working with Irish Water to change the nation’s flushing behaviour which will make a difference to our coastal environment.”

Think Before You Flush

For more information visit our Think Before You Flush page or visit 

Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow

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