Plumbing services will continue during public health crisis


O’Neill and Brown Plumbing Services, Canberra’s largest and oldest plumbing service. Photo: Supplied.

As many businesses close, plumbers will continue to provide essential services to the ACT community during the coronavirus health emergency.

“Our members provide an essential service to public health,” says Leigh Watson, Executive Director of Master Plumbers ACT.

“The last thing a lone person needs right now is to live with a clogged toilet or a burst water line. At a time like this, providing fast and efficient responses to plumbing emergencies is more critical than ever.

“Of course, plumbers need to take action right now to protect their health and safety and that of their customers, but this is nothing new to them. Every day, plumbers have to work on sanitary drainage systems that contain feces and a host of dangerous pathogens. They will treat this situation the same as any other security risk. “

Ms Watson said members of the Master Plumbers Association implement additional hygiene practices and cleaning routines to minimize the risk of transmitting COVID-19, including wiping down equipment and surfaces with antibacterial supplies. and ensuring that their staff maintain the required physical distance from customers.

Ms Watson said they are also recommending members ask customers to let them know if they are self-isolating or if they can possibly be infected, so they can then make sure to take specific precautions. with safety equipment such as full Perspex face protection and disposable gloves.

“There may be times when a plumber is not ready to enter a home or business that puts them at risk, but people can call the Master Plumbers Association who will find a plumber who can attend.”

O’Neill & Brown’s National Plumbing Services Manager Damien Holder says they continue to provide 24/7 service and have a full range of processes in place for working in premises where people are in self-isolation or are sick with the coronavirus for the protection of the public and technicians while helping with plumbing emergencies.

“We operate in a rapidly changing environment and regularly monitor health regulations and requirements to ensure compliance at all times,” said Mr. Holder.

“Our COVID-19 protocols apply from the first phone call when we determine how we can enter the premises with minimal contact. Our technicians will also wear full PPE (personal protective equipment) for the safety of our customers and staff.

“Then we can fix the problem, whether it’s a sewer overflow, a burst water line, a gas leak or no water. If the job is identified to take more than 15 minutes, our technicians will isolate the problem and secure. Then we’ll discuss how we can complete the work at a later date, ”Holder said.

Water Tight Canberra owner Tom Martin says plumbers are an essential emergency service that takes care of the systems that protect the community from disease.

“From sewage system to hot water to gas, everything we do is integral to the health, comfort and hygiene of our community. Plumbers are mobilizing to ensure the protection of the community and our technicians. “


Tom Wright with part of the Water Tight Canberra team. The recent winner of the National Telstra Small Business Award from Canberra. Image: Media from the region.

Mr. Martin says sourcing additional PPE is proving to be a challenge following panic buying.

“Our technicians normally use disinfectant and other PPE items and it’s not something we’ve ever had to stock up on. With the shortages nationwide, we’ve certainly had to be resourceful to keep our customers and staff safe. “

The recent panic buy that stripped the shelves of toilet paper created its own plumbing situation.

Leigh Watson of Master Plumbers ACT says, “It is well established that many people now resort to things like wipes and paper towels that block the toilet. Our members are already reporting an increase in calls to clear the blockages. It is obvious that the community would become a very unsanitary place if such toilet blockages were not removed ”.

Icon Water chief operating officer Rob Allen said Icon Water has seen an increase in blockages in the system.

“We are also seeing an increase in the number of materials hitting the screens of the treatment plant, including wet wipes, paper towels and handkerchiefs. These items are not designed to break down easily.

“We have crews cleaning pipes and sewer lines 24/7 now and it’s no surprise that this coincided with the lack of toilet paper in supermarkets. It’s really important that residents only pull the three Ps – pee, poo and (toilet) paper, ”Allen said.


Blockages in the icon treatment station and pumping stations due to wet wipes. Photo: Water icon.


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