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Help ‘stop the block’ in the South West

03rd June 2019

South West Water is bringing its Love Your Loo and Think Sink campaigns to seven new areas this month to encourage everyone only to flush the 3Ps – pee, paper and poo – and to dispose of cooking oil, fat and grease in the kitchen bin.

Parts of Perranporth, Porthleven, Helston, Wadebridge, South Molton, Torquay and Dartmouth have a history of sewer blockages and flooding, which can be caused by people inappropriately flushing baby wipes, hygiene wipes, moist toilet tissue, cleaning wipes, cleansing pads and sanitary products.

Hot fat, oil and grease poured down sinks can also block pipes and cause flooding, contributing to the 8,500 blocked sewers South West Water deals with every year, which costs about £4.5million and adds to bills.

In extreme cases, these items combined can create fatbergs, as seen in Sidmouth when earlier this year workers spent eight weeks braving exceptionally challenging conditions to break up 64 metres of congealed, fat, oil and wet wipes and excavate it in 36 tanker loads – each 3,000 gallons.

Over the next three months dedicated South West Water advisers will be talking to customers about the campaigns and the simple changes they can make to help ‘stop the block’ in their towns.

South West Water’s Head of Community Relations, Alan Hyde, explained: “People tell us they are confused about what can and can’t be flushed. Sometimes that’s because the packaging is misleading. Many products say they are flushable and biodegradable – but they take so long to break down that they build up in pipes and cause blockages.

“Hot fat, oil and grease also causes major problems because when it cools it forms a solid mass which can build up inside your pipes.

“Blocked pipes can cause flooding, which is extremely unpleasant – especially if it happens in your home. They can easily be avoided by disposing of fat, oil and grease in the kitchen bin and only flushing the 3Ps – pee, paper and poo – down the loo.”

To find out more, see www.southwestwater.co.uk/loveyourloo and www.southwestwater.co.uk/thinksink

Notes to editors

We are working with the rest of the water industry to encourage manufacturers and retailers to label their products responsibly. In the meantime, our customers told us they think it’s our job to tell them what can and can’t be flushed – so that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Only flush the 3Ps – pee, paper and poo – and bag and bin soiled wipes and sanitary products. Cleaning wipes and cleansing pads can go straight in the bin.

Keep fat, oil, grease and food waste out of your pipes by following these four simple steps:

1. Scrape food scraps and fat off your plates into your bin or food waste recycling

2. Use a container to collect cooled fats, oils and grease from roasting trays and frying pans

3. Give plates and pans a quick wipe with kitchen roll to remove any liquid fat or grease before putting in the sink or dishwasher

4. When full, empty or dispose of the container into your kitchen bin

For further information please contact:

South West Water