What does it mean if toilet paper is overflowing from my house drain?
Toilet paper can overflow from drains even when you have stopped flushing the toilet. Overflowing toilet paper is the most common sign of a blocked sewer pipe.
Waste, such as basin, bath, shower and laundry water are classified as grey water. Toilet, kitchen sink and urinal waste are classified as black water. However, it is not widely known that all water used inside a dwelling or other building is drained away to the sewerage system.
When a blockage occurs in a sewer drain, the toilet paper will generally float to the top of the water column. Therefore, when you add more wastewater into the drain, say from a shower, it will cause the toilet paper to rise further in the drain until it eventually overflows onto the ground around the drain. Unfortunately, most faecal matter floats too.
The location of the blockage may be inside the home – owner’s drain. In this case your own toilet paper will overflow through one of the gully traps outside your home. (See Fig 2 Below)
If you are connected to a septic tank, and you have a blockage in the drain between the house and your septic tank, your toilet paper will overflow through one of your external gully traps. See Fig 3 below.
The blockage may also be in the main drain servicing numerous properties in a street or suburb. In this situation, the first house above the blockage point is likely to get the overflow from all of the properties upstream, that are connected to the same sewerage main.
When the last scenario occurs, toilet paper from all houses will overflow at the first house above the blockage. This will occur even if the people in that house stop using all plumbing fixtures. It is likely that the amount of toilet paper overflowing will be significant. (See Fig 4 Below)
If either scenario occurs, it is time to call your preferred plumber. If you cannot contact your plumber, try to contact your local sewerage and water Utility. In Queanbeyan, your utility is Queanbeyan City Council. In Canberra, your utility is ICON Water.
If you are in Canberra or Queanbeyan 6 Star Hot Water and Plumbing Can Help.