Pental ordered to pay $700,000 over White King wipes linked to Hunter 'fatbergs'

A BRAND producing a type of bathroom wipes that cause roughly 80 per cent of Hunter pipe blockages have been ordered to pay $700,000 in the federal court. 

Pental was on Thursday ordered to pay a total of $700,000 after Australian Competition and Consumer Commission action over the wipes. 

Pental admitted it had represented its White King bathroom cleaning wipes had been represented as made of a specially designed material that broke down similarly to toilet paper when that was not the case. 

Hunter Water said in a statement it welcomed the federal court decision after the utility’s strong advocacy that the products had to be treated differently. 

“These products do not break down like toilet paper after flushing, and they contribute to expensive blockages for our customers at their homes and in wastewater systems,” Hunter Water said. 

“It is estimated Hunter Water removes approximately 75 tonnes of the products each year.”

In January 2016 Hunter Water crews used a crane to remove a one-tonne fatberg from an Eleebana pumping station. 

The White King Power Clean Flushable Toilet Wipes 40 and 100 packs were advertised as flushable between February 2011 and July 2016. 

They were later renamed the White King Flushable Bathroom Power Wipes. 

The court, by consent, made declarations that Pental’s representations were false or misleading. The company was ordered to implement a compliance program. 

“The court’s decision shows that businesses face serious consequences if they make false or misleading statements about the nature of their products,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said.

“These White King wipes can’t be flushed down the toilet, and Australian wastewater authorities face significant problems if they are because they can cause blockages in household and municipal sewerage systems.”

Pental had co-operated by making admissions and consenting to orders. 

Hunter Water urged customers to only flush human waste and toilet paper.