Toilet paper alternatives and alterations? Call a plumber

Tuesday, 28 April, 2020

Toilet paper alternatives and alterations? Call a plumber

Toilet paper shortages have led Australians to seek out sanitary alternatives in the bathroom, which has led to an increase in interest and installation of bidet products. Yet plumbing industry safety standards must to be maintained, Standards Australia and plumbing industry representatives have advised.

Maintaining industry safety standards is especially important with respect to the potential dangers associated with self-installation of products that connect with drinking supplies. “Standards, regulations and certification aim to assist in the safe installation of bidets and, in turn, the prevention of contamination of the drinking water supply of both the users and the community,” Daniel Chidgey, Head of Stakeholder Engagement at Standards Australia, said.

The increase in purchasing of bidet products can help reduce toilet paper use, and has the potential to ease pressure on supply chains during times of high demand, such as for toilet paper amid the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Yet it is important that any installation of such plumbing products is done correctly, in line with standards and regulations and in keeping with relevant requirements that avoid water contamination and protect users and industry workers, such as plumbers. “It’s great individuals are inspired to start projects and find solutions during this challenging time; however, in this instance it’s important the installation of these types of products are left to plumbing professionals,” Chidgey said.

Plumbing products such as bidets should be certified through the WaterMark Certification Scheme and only installed by a professional plumber. “The WaterMark Certification Scheme ensures that plumbing products are certified to the appropriate product specification, fit for purpose and authorised for use in plumbing and drainage installations,” Stuart Henry, Executive Director of Plumbing Products Industry Group, said. “These requirements ensure compliance with Australian Standards and assist in ensuring public health and safety through the water and sanitation services in the built environment.”

Rob Pearshouse, Chairman of Master Plumbers Australia and New Zealand, agreed with this advice and reminded toilet users to only use flushable products. “With over 60,000 plumbing professionals across Australia, the safety of workers and the correct use of plumbing-related products is extremely important. During this time, we encourage individuals to avoid these DIY jobs that interact with the water supply and to also make sure they are only flushing flushable products,” Pearshouse said.

Standards Australia said that individuals purchasing bidets and similar plumbing products should check that these are marked with the WaterMark Certification trademark and ensure that these products are being installed by licensed plumbers. Those with concerns or questions related to the purchase and installation of products such as bidets are being advised to contact their state or local plumbing authority. “The plumbing industry has a huge role in Australian life, and Standards Australia will continue to assist the sector complete its integral work safely and respond to the new COVID-19 environment we have found ourselves in,” Chidgey concluded.

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