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Working together to prevent blockages

We clear around 75,000 blockages from our sewers each year. Many of these are caused by items like wet wipes, sanitary items and cotton pads that can't break down. When they're flushed down the loo, they combine with cooking fats and oils, eventually blocking pipes. This can force raw sewage back up drains, plugholes, and toilets and into homes.

We’ve put together some handy tips on how to prevent blocked pipes around your home.

In your bathroom

Bin the nasties

Wipes, condoms, sanitary products, cotton wool, and dental floss are some of the biggest offenders in our sewers. Throw them in the bin, not the loo. The three Ps is the best rule to remember when it comes to what’s flushable; pee, poo, paper. Nothing else!

Switch it up

There are loads of alternatives to wet wipes and sanitary products on the market now. Why not try a few? You’ll be helping the planet in more ways than one.

Myth: ‘Flushable’ products are safe to put in the loo

Many companies market products as ‘flushable’. But these wipes contain plastic, so they won’t break down the same way as toilet paper does. Although they’ll disappear when you flush, they won’t completely leave your drains. Pop them in the bin to be safe.

In your kitchen

Lovely leftovers

Resist the temptation to tip old food down the kitchen sink and be sure to scrape it in the bin. If it’s more of a ‘liquid’ food like gravy, use some kitchen roll or newspaper to soak it up, then put it in the bin.

Fat, oil and grease

Cooking fat and oils will eventually turn solid and build up in your pipes. Instead of pouring them down the sink, collect them in a container like a jam jar or yoghurt pot. Leave them to cool, and once they’ve set, scoop them out and pop them straight in the bin.

Your local council may also have a special way to dispose of fat, oil and grease – check with them if you’d like to find out more.

Myth: Hot water and soap will break down oils and fats, keeping the pipe clear

If you’ve blocked your drain, crossed fingers and a squirt of washing-up liquid won’t clear it. That’s because hot water and soap don’t dissolve oils and fats. The soap may actually harden in your pipes, sticking to other items and adding to the problem.

What we're doing

On average, we clear around 200 blockages each day from homes across our region.

60% of sewer flooding in homes is caused by blockages. Our ongoing mission is to raise awareness of this issue to help you prevent blockages and sewer flooding at home.