Plumbing work - important reminder on illegal plumbing work during COVID-19

Consumer Building and Occupational Services has received reports that the recent toilet paper shortage has led people to “improvising" and illegally modifying toilets. This is an Australia-wide issue.

What not to use in a toilet

Properly manufactured toilet paper should be the only paper material flushed down a toilet.

Do not use:

  • hand paper towel
  • baby wipes
  • sanitary pads
  • pyjamas, towels, clothes or rags.

All these products are unacceptable. Flushing these products down the toilet increases the risk of blocking the toilet or sewer. If a blockage occurs, a licensed plumber must fix the problem.

CBOS has received advice that COVID-19 is transferable from faecal matter

Illegal plumbing installations

Another area of great concern is where people have installed toilet deuce seats, bidets and hand held toilet/personal washers to their facilities without the appropriate backflow prevention devices being installed to the fixture/premises water supply. This places not only the whole household at risk but also the greater community  if there is a backflow event (contamination) within the water supply system. A licensed plumber must install these pieces of infrastructure. It is the plumber's role to:

  • determine the level of backflow risk in accordance with the Plumbing Code of Australia and
  • ensure the correct device is installed before use.

CBOS has also received reports ofTV commercials recently aired in Tasmania suggesting consumers can install these items themselves. This is illegal. Get advice from a licensed plumber before buying and/or installing such a device as you should understand the safety and maintenance implications of installing these types of devices.

Example of a toilet with an illegal plumbing installation

White toilet with illegal hose running from adjacent shower

Updated: 15 Apr 2020

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