Toilet roll alternatives blocking North East sewers
Northumbrian Water is tackling an increased number of sewers clogged up by flushed toilet roll alternatives that are being used during the coronavirus outbreak.
The North East water company understands anyone affected by the shortage of toilet paper on the shelves of shops is only improvising by using alternatives such as wipes, kitchen roll and newspapers, but warns of the devastating consequences that wrongful flushing can have on the environment and to customer homes.
Wrongly flushed items, such as wet wipes, are one of the biggest causes of blockages as they usually clog up inside householders' plumbing and sewer pipes.
Simon Cyhanko, head of wastewater networks at Northumbrian Water, said: "Wet wipes and toilet roll alternatives, including kitchen roll and newspapers, are the main causes of blockages in our network.
"We understand some people affected by the limited toilet roll availability may have no choice but to use alternative products, but we really need our customers' help by making one small change - and that's to put wipes and any alternatives in the bin.
"Blockages can have devastating consequences, from causing people's homes to be flooded with toilet waste to the environment being polluted, but by binning the wipe and toilet roll alternatives you can help make a massive difference.
"No one wants to see harm to the environment and to innocent wildlife, or homes flooded with sewage, which isn't a pleasant experience at any time and especially now, if vulnerable people need to self-isolate because of Covid19.
"Wipes and alternatives, may leave your toilet bowl when flushed, but can clog up your plumbing and cause avoidable plumber callout charges. Even biodegradable products often don't break down as quickly as toilet paper and can linger in sewer pipes, contributing to blockages.
"If customers are going to use any sort of wipe or toilet roll alternative, then please bin them. Toilets are not a bin."
Northumbrian Water's ‘Bin the Wipe' campaign is encouraging customers not to use their toilets as a bin, after finding around 64% of the 15,600 blockages cleared in 2019 were caused by wet wipes.
You can keep up to date with the latest on how the water sector is responding to the coronavirus outbreak by visiting https://wwtonline.co.uk/tags/coronavirus
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