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Wise up on water waste

All Areas > Environment > Save the Planet

Author: Grant Mitchell, Posted: Wednesday, 24th June 2015, 08:00

Did you know that water companies spend millions of pounds every year clearing sanitary products such as nappies, wipes and cotton buds from our network? And in addition to this, when fat and oil from cooking is poured down the sink it also adds to these blockages.

Our drains are only designed to cope with toilet paper and human waste, so some of the things people throw down the toilet – like wipes – can easily snag on the inside of a pipe and block it. Water waste teams have even found wipes, rods, scaffolding clips, house bricks and a doll’s head blocking sewers!

Dispose of items in the bin
Nobody wants sewers backing up and overflowing in their home or garden, so try to ensure you always dispose of items in the bin, and not the toilet or sink.

Over 55,000 sewer blockages are cleared in the Severn Trent Water region every year and 75% of these are caused by the wrong items being put down the sink or toilet. It costs over £10 million every year to regularly clean over 700 kilometres of sewers.

Be careful about what you put down your toilet or sink
Many people may not realise that they are responsible for the waste pipe running away from their home up until it either crosses the property boundary or meets with another waste pipe or sewer. Unblocking or repairing this section of pipe can be costly, but avoidable if you’re careful about what you put down your toilet or your sink.

Sewer flooding is one of the most horrible things that can happen and it is entirely preventable. The drains that take waste water away from your home are only a few inches wide and it doesn’t take much for them to get clogged up. It’s easy to assume that things such as wipes will just flush away, like toilet tissue, but the reality is that they don’t break down – they’re not designed to, and so they can get caught on snags or just bunch up, building up and blocking the drain or sewer. To help prevent this, it’s better to simply get a bin in the bathroom and put rubbish in there.

If a problem occurs on your section of pipe, you’ll need to call a plumber. You can see a list of approved plumbers by visiting: www.stwater.co.uk/businesses/watermark-plumbers

If you do experience a problem – either slow drains or a blocked sewer – which are Severn Trent Water’s responsibility, you can report it by calling 0800 783 4444.

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