Wastewater Network Yields Unusual Finds: Snakes, Surfboards, and Toy Truck in Oxley


Urban Utilities has disclosed a bizarre assortment of items retrieved from Queensland’s wastewater system. The list includes live snakes, a surfboard fragment, a toy truck from Oxley, and an eclectic mix of personal belongings.

A toy truck from Oxley
Photo Credit: Urban Utilities

Urban Utilities spokesperson Michelle Cull expressed astonishment at the variety of objects discovered, ranging from Barbie dolls and toy fire trucks to sporting equipment and even false teeth. 

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The unusual discoveries highlight the significance of responsible waste disposal because wet wipes and cooking fats are common household items that cause blockages.

“We’ve had Barbie dolls, toy fire trucks, and action figures go for a swim in our wastewater network,” said Cull, emphasising the need for residents to “only flush the three Ps: pee, poo, and paper.”

Photo Credit: Urban Utilities

In the last financial year alone, Urban Utilities removed 2700 metric tonnes of rubbish from the network, equivalent to the weight of roughly 1500 cars. The company urged the public to be mindful of what they flush or wash down the drain to prevent costly and environmentally damaging blockages.

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Beyond the odd and quirky finds, wastewater analysis has also provided valuable insights into public health and drug use trends. 

Top 10 Weird and Wacky Sewer Finds:
1. Children’s toys
2. Money
3. Mobile phones
4. Sporting balls
5. Keys
6. False teeth
7. Goldfish
8. Jewellery
9. Snakes
10. Surfboard
Photo Credit: Urban Utilities

In recent years, the network has been used to monitor the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19.

Additionally, wastewater sampling has revealed a rise in cocaine use, reaching its highest level in seven years, along with the presence of other recreational drugs like MDMA and oxycodone.

Published Date 21-May-2024