Harrogate’s HG2 postcode region has been identified as a hotspot for sewer blockages by Yorkshire Water, with its sewer technicians having been called out to unblock sewers 185 times.
Wet wipes have been identified by Yorkshire Water as a major cause for the blockages, which are becoming an increasingly popular choice as a luxury toilet roll. Repairing each blockage comes at a cost of £150 to the firm.
Rather concerningly, planks of wood and bricks have also been recovered from the local sewer system.
As a result, the firm urges residents in the area to only flush the ‘3Ps’ down the toilet – poo, pee and paper. A door-knocking campaign is also being carried out in the area to explain to residents how they can do their bit to help avoid the problem.
James Harrison, Networks Manager at Yorkshire Water, said: ” Healthy sewers are vital to avoid pollution incidents that damage the local environment and watercourses. In HG2, we’re noticing a significant increase in the amount of sewer blockages that are impacting on the health of the sewers. To tackle this escalating problem, we plan to communicate with local residents and community groups to make customers aware of what can and cannot be flushed down the toilet or poured down the sink.”
The team’s sewer technicians, dubbed the ‘sewer crusaders,’ are tasked with keeping the sewers flowing. They make use of suction vacuums and high pressure water jet sprays to remove blockages and keep the sewers flowing.
Wet wipes that get flushed down the toilet can take up to 100 years to disintegrate, with their fibres remaining in rivers and seas for decades and posing a threat to ocean life. Gel wipes can be used as an alternative as the gel which is applied to the toilet paper results in the same soothing effect, except gel wipes are 100% flushable.
James Harrison added: “We understand information from polyester wet wipes manufacturers can be quite confusing as some products say flushable on the packaging. However, we would urge people to dispose of wet wipes in a bathroom bin at all times as although they may flush down the toilet they do not disintegrate like normal toilet paper.”
There are hundreds of sewers covering the HG2 area, which includes Rosett, Hookstone, Woodlands, Oatlands, Hornbeam Park, Pannal Ash and Harlow Hill. The sewers carry commercial and domestic waste to the local sewage plant in Harrogate South.
£252 million will be invested by the company over the next three years to improve the quality of the region’s sewer networks.