Campaign bids to reduce sewer blockages in local hotspots

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Thames Water campaign bids to reduce sewer blockages in local hotspots

Thames Water is targeting householders in fatberg hotspots across its region with its successful Bin it – don’t block it’ campaign.

The aim is to get those putting fat down the drain, and wipes down the toilet, to understand the impact of their behaviour and change their ways.

Formed when leftover cooking fat and wet wipes congeal into a solid mass in sewers, fatbergs block pipes and can cause sewage to back up into homes, businesses and public spaces, and pollute waterways and the wider environment.

Each year hundreds of properties are flooded with sewage as a result of fat and wipe blockages.

Thames Water’s head of sewer networks, Matt Rimmer, said: “Often people don’t realise the consequences of putting things other than human waste and toilet paper down their toilets and drains but it’s time for everyone to understand and take action.

“It’s not just fat that’s the problem but wipes, often labelled ‘flushable’, are a massive issue too.

“They may disappear when you flush the toilet, but they don’t break down in the sewer pipes.

“We’re lobbying manufacturers, government and retailers to correctly label the wipes as unflushable and to change what they’re made from, but in the meantime we need everyone to put a bin in their bathroom and stop flushing them.

“We hope our campaign will encourage people to ‘Bin it – don’t block it’.”

During the campaign posters depicting a wet wipe, alongside poems about the impact blocked sewers have on private pipes and pockets, as calling out a plumber to clear a blockage from a property can cost over £200, will be displayed on billboards and bus stops across the hotspot areas which include Maidenhead, Watford, Staines, Witney and some London Boroughs.

A more direct approach will see a matching postcard sent to thousands homes.

A survey following the same campaign in east London last year revealed around 70 per cent of people who’d received Thames Water’s advice changed their ways and blockages in the area have since reduced by 26 per cent.

Thames Water is also keen to dispel a number of myths around what can and can’t be put into the sewers including the belief that putting washing up liquid down the sink will stop fat blockages.

The company’s’ sewer experts also say items like nappies, condoms, sanitary towels, tampons and cotton buds should never be flushed but always binned.

For more information about Thames Water’s Bin it – don’t block it campaign visit www.thameswater.co.uk/binit.