DJ Phatberg’s flush with good ideas

  • Think Before You Flush is a 45-second rap song and accompanying video produced by Council to educate people on what they should not be flushing down the toilet.
  • Councillor Brett Olds adopted the persona of DJ Phatberg to rap the tune. The name comes from fatberg – a very large mass of solid waste in a sewerage system.
  • Council spends more than $750,000 removing blockages from the city’s sewer systems.
  • Cotton buds, “flushable” wipes, tissues, tampons, condoms, hypodermic needles and disposable nappies all found in our sewers and can potentially cause blockages.
    Cr Brett Olds as his alter ego DJ Phatberg, using rhythm and rhyme to educate residents about the importance of being mindful of the things you flush down the toilet.
  • Monstrous conglomerates of congealed fats and oils, flushable wipes and other items flushed down the toilet and sink have been turning up in sewers worldwide, causing blockages and sewage overflows.

    Fatbergs have been in the spotlight in recent years, especially after giant ones were uncovered in England. A 250-metre, 130-tonne monstrosity was discovered in London in 2017, and earlier this year a 64-metre giant was found in seaside town of Sidmouth.

    While in Queensland there haven’t been any such mammoths, there was a report of a seven-metre behemoth removed from Brisbane’s Bowen Hills.

    While he’s not as heavy or as smelly (we presume), ds has adopted the name of the aforementioned congealed masses of waste for his alter ego – DJ Phatberg – to educate residents about the importance of being mindful of the things you flush down the toilet.

    In the new 45-second rap song and video flush with information, DJ Phatberg drops the beat with lyrics such as:

    “No nappies no tampons, they can clog up your drain.

    “Condoms, wipes and cotton buds – man that’s just insane.

    “We all need to use the loo – you go you gotta go,

    but if you flush the wrong things down the sewer might backflow.”

    Cr Olds said the aim of the rap and video, entitled Think Before You Flush, was to educate people in a fun and engaging manner.

    “It’s a very serious subject, but we came up with a light-hearted way to address it, which residents and especially children, are more likely to remember,” Cr Olds explained.

    “A lot of people simply don’t know what does break down in the sewer, and what things don’t.

    “Basically, if it’s not toilet paper, pee or poo, it shouldn’t go down there.”

    Although they are marketed as “flushable”, wipes were among the leading items contributing to the problem.

    “One of the biggest issues is the increasing number of these flushable wipes clogging up the system as they take far longer to break down than toilet paper,” Cr Olds said.

    Each year, Council spends more than $750,000 removing blockages from the city’s sewer systems, most of which are preventable.

    “More than half of these blockages are a direct result of fats, oils and grease, while the remainder can be directly attributed to items that should never be flushed down the toilet.

    “Things like cotton buds, tissues, tampons, condoms and nappies end up there and they have the potential to cause havoc.

    “Next time you’re on the throne, take a second to Think Before You Flush.”

    The rap and video was largely produced by Council: with lyrics by former media co-ordinator Lea Guy, with recording by digital media officer Norbert Kraus, and direction by account manager Fiona Dix.

    Ben Farkas from Think Virtual Reality was brought in for filming.

    In a family effort, Cr Olds’ son Tristan played the beats on the drums, and joined siblings Jackson, Tristan and Jessica with some additional backing vocals.

    Don’t flush it – the top offenders

    • Cotton buds
    • Baby and face wipes
    • “Flushable” wipes
    • Tissues and serviettes
    • Disposable nappies
    • Tampons and sanitary pads
    • Condoms
    • Cigarette butts

    How did they get down there?

    • Bed linen: An entire set of bed sheets was found by Council employees at one pump station.
    • False teeth and eye glasses: Probably lost by people getting sick in the toilet. We have had request for the return of lost items.
    • Money: Particularly since the introduction of plastic notes, Council officers have found up to $100 in cash.
    • Drink glasses: Likely from nightclubs and pubs, we are talking smaller glasses that can fit through the bend.

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