Look what has been clogging up Lowestoft’s sewerage system!
PUBLISHED: 17:42 19 April 2017 | UPDATED: 19:11 19 April 2017
Lowestoft residents are being urged to keep wet wipes and sanitary products out of their toilets and sewers after an entangled sewerage pump was lifted and cleaned in the town.
The congealed mass of wet wipes, sanitary products and nappies was wrapped around a pump, close to the harbour. The pump takes water away from coastal homes and businesses, before it is cleaned and put back into the environment at a nearby water recycling centre.
Sarah Dobson from Anglian Water said: “The UK’s sewers and pumping stations weren’t built to cope with wet wipes, tampons or other sanitary items. When flushed they don’t disintegrate like toilet paper and they cause blockages.
“That can mean nasty smells, or worse still a higher risk of flooding and pollution of your home and the environment.
“The reality is most people don’t know they shouldn’t flush wipes, and the same is true of sanitary items. Every week 800 tonnes of wipes and sanitary items are flushed causing tens of thousands of blockages. The good news is it’s easy to prevent these blockages – just bin wet wipes and sanitary products and when cooking allow fat to cool before putting it in the bin or taking it to a nearby recycling bank.”
Today, in the UK, one in two adults purchase some kind of wipe. Cleansing wipes are the most common with over 10 million users. Add to these the multitude of other wipes and products on the market and it’s easy to see why they’ve become a problem if flushed down the loo.
Anglian Water attends more than 34,000 sewer blockages every year – the vast majority of which are avoidable and caused by wipes, sanitary items and fats and greases from cooking. It spends around 15m every year to remove blockages from the sewers – money which goes on customer bills and would be better spent elsewhere.
Last year, Anglian Water teams were called to 179 sewer blockages in Lowestoft caused by wipes, fats, oils and greases and throughout the eastern region clears a blockage every 15 minutes.