"Don't feed the fatberg" is the message from Waikato councils after media coverage of a 250-metre long, 130-tonne mountain of waste blocking a London sewer pipe went viral.
A fatberg is an accumulation of congealed fats and oils which bind with other problem items in sewer pipes including wet wipes, sanitary pads, nappies and condoms to create a solid mass.
Hamilton City Council waters manager Maire Porter said the city faces the same issue as the massive block in London, prompting the council to promote its Bin It, Don't Flush It campaign.
Such a mass can block the pipe system causing overflows and damage to pumping equipment.
In some cases large chunks of a blockage crashing into the city's treatment plant screens can seriously damage the plant, Porter said.
Last week a team of engineers in London were trying to break up and remove the massive fatberg tonne by tonne.
"People putting the wrong things into our wastewater system costs many tens of thousands of dollars every year in repairs, additional maintenance and disposal costs," Porter said.
"These are costs paid by the ratepayer which could be avoided by simply putting these items in the bin.
"Wet wipes don't break down in our wastewater system and clog up our pumps, while fats and oils poured into the system congeal and bind all the other items together."
Other "oddball" items found in the city's waste system include toys, credit cards, golf balls, clothing, false teeth and more, but it's the wet wipes, fats and oils that cause problems.
"Bin it, don't flush it, and don't feed the fatberg."
Waikato District Council service delivery general manager Tim Harty said fatbergs have been plaguing the council's pipes for years.
"With the huge fatberg in the news last week it's timely to remind our residents that in 2016/17, 81 per cent of wastewater overflows across the district were caused by things like wipes, sanitary hygiene products such has pads and tampons, fats, oils and grease, cotton buds, nappies and rags."
Residents have told the council the number of wastewater overflows in recent times was unacceptable.
A public education programme aimed at letting people know what can and can't be put down the loo and kitchen sink is under way, Harty said.
"The message we need to get across to our residents is easy - pee, poo and [toilet] paper, or the three 'P's, are the only things that should go down the loo.
"Everyone also needs to think while at the sink."