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Welsh Water leading the way in fight to reduce sewer flooding and pollution misery

  • 28,000 blockages a year costing £7million
  • Blockages lead to human misery and every year flood hundreds of homes
  • Wet wipes, sanitary products, cotton buds, fat, oil and grease major cause of blockages

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water is asking its three million customers to help prevent sewer flooding to their homes and local communities by changing their behaviour when it comes to what they flush down their toilets and rinse down their sinks.

Blocked sewers are a major problem which costs Welsh Water over £7 million pounds a year to clear. They cause huge human misery, and every year flood hundreds of homes and businesses and can pollute our beautiful rivers, beaches and the wider environment.

The call comes as Welsh Water launches its first ever TV advert to raise awareness of this important public health issue and coincides with a UK-wide water industry campaign to stop manufacturers calling wet wipes and other sanitary products “flushable.”

Dŵr Cymru’s Head of Waste Water Networks, Imogen Brown said: “We deal with over 2,000 sewer blockages every month and the majority of these blockages are caused by everyday items put down the toilet such as wet wipes, sanitary towels and cotton buds, as well as fat, oil and grease that people put down their drains. Some packaging wrongly labels things like wet wipes and sanitary products as ‘flushable’ when in fact they will cause blockages further down the pipe.

“A lot of people aren’t even aware that these items can cause sewer flooding and pollution in their homes and communities.

 “Anyone who has suffered a flood in their home because of a blocked drain or sewer will know the damage and personal upset that it causes. With the collective support of enough people, we will be able to reduce the blockages, floods and pollution that cause so much distress. Reducing these blockages will also mean that our not for profit company will also be able to invest more in other improvements on behalf of our customers.”

Zoe-Lisa Blackler owns Café Junior in Cathays, Cardiff: “We’ve had a number of flooding incidents over the last seven years, the worst being when two nappies had been flushed down the toilet together and completely blocked the pipes. In one year alone it cost us £1,700 to unblock drains and make emergency repairs after wastewater flooded part of our building.

“Another blockage was caused by a huge collection of baby wipes and packets. The drain cleaners told me they’d stopped counting at 80 baby wipes and had even found three plastic baby wipe packets had been flushed away. We’ve noticed a huge amount of misinformation - many of our customers are convinced they are doing the right thing by flushing wipes away, whereas our plumbers are telling us it is causing a huge environmental problem and we’re certainly paying for it as a business.

“A consistent message to the public without ambiguity is what is needed. This is why the Let’s Stop the Block campaign is so important – showing people how they can help prevent flooding in their homes, their neighbourhoods and local business by just thinking before flushing any unsuitable items away or pouring fat, oil and grease down their drains.”

Find out more about our Let’s Stop the Block campaign at Dwrcymru.com




Further information: Contact Welsh Water’s Press Office on 01443 452 452 or press@dwrcymru.com