Keep your wipes out of the pipes. That was the advice from the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) on World Toilet Day, with households across England and Wales being urged to join the battle to reduce the tens of thousands of blockages clogging up our drains and sewers.
‘Adult’ toys, a dismantled greenhouse, space hopper and hand grenade were just a few of the strange finds discovered in the bowels of our sewers, as water companies spent about £50 million clearing over 200,000 blockages in 2014/15 caused by inappropriate items put down the loo and sink.2
But none of these items came close to matching the pain in the drain caused by the thousands of wet wipes flushed down the loo, or the greasy fats and oils poured down the sink.
Steve Grebby, CCWater’s sewerage expert, said: “Sewer flooding causes misery for thousands of households every year, which is why it’s in all our interests to keep our drains and sewers clear and flowing freely.
“One very simple way we can do that is by making sure we only flush pee, poo and paper down the loo.”
According to CCWater research a growing number of consumers (64% in 2014 compared to 43% in 2013) can identify what items should not be flushed down the loo.3 But wet and so called ‘flushable’ wipes still accounted for up to a third of sewer blockages in some parts of England and Wales.
And ultimately it’s customers who end up footing the bill to clear up the mess through their water and sewerage bills.
So CCWater is asking households to remember its top tips to ‘keep it clear’:
- ONLY FLUSH – the 3Ps - Pee, Poo and toilet Paper down your loo.
- DON’T FLUSH – other items including wet, nappy or ‘flushable’ wipes; nappies and pads; cotton buds; tissues; plastic bags and wrappers; sanitary towels; plasters and chewing gum. Bag them and bin them instead.
- DON’T POUR – cooking fats, oils and greases down the sink or drain. Instead KEEP A FAT TRAP or container in the kitchen to collect waste fats, oils and grease. Many water companies will provide you with a free fat trap.
- DO ALLOW - small amounts of fats, oils and grease to cool and scrape them into a container or newspaper before binning them.