18th Dec, 2017

Don't flush wipes plead Severn Trent

Leamington Editorial 23rd Mar, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

SEVERN Trent bosses are literally being bogged down by wipes.

They are appealing to people not to flush the likes of baby, floor and face wipes down the toilet as they are clogging up Longbridge Sewage Works – which takes in the waste from Warwick and the surrounding area.

Around 3.5 tonnes of wipes and other items which should not be flushed were dragged out of Severn Trent sewers in Warwick district the course of one weekend – about the same weight as a Range Rover.

And across the region nearly 1,500 tonnes is flushed every month, and over 16,000 tonnes per year.

Severn Trent spokeswoman Sue Davey said: “Wipes are one of the biggest problems we’re dealing with at the moment. They’re everywhere these days – baby wipes, floor wipes, face wipes – and people don’t think before dropping them into the toilet.

“But the problem is that they don’t break up or dissolve like toilet paper, and so they easily get stuck in drains and sewers and cause blockages.”

In the last year the company has been called out to thousands of blockages in the region, of which three quarters were caused by people flushing things like wipes.

The problem is costing Severn Trent over £10 million per year clearing wipes and other items such as sanitary products, fat.

Ms Davey added: “We’re spending millions of pounds every year sending teams into sewers with jetting equipment and sometimes even spades to dig out these blockages.

“Having sewage flooding in your garden or even inside your home due to sewers being blocked is one of the most horrible things that can happen to you, and we don’t want our customers to suffer in this way, as it’s entirely preventable.

“The drains that take waste water away from your home are only a few inches wide and are only meant to take water, toilet roll and human waste. Remember toilet roll is meant to break down when it gets wet so it washes easily through the system. That’s not the case with things like sanitary products, or in this case, cleansing wipes which can get stuck in smaller drains.

“These sewer blockages, if not identified and cleared can lead to sewers backing up and overflowing into people’s homes and gardens.

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