Great Britain

Britain faces huge fatbergs blocking sewers as wet wipes and kid’s TOYS flushed down loo in coronavirus lockdown

The Sun

'POONAMI'

BRITAIN could face even bigger fatbergs in sewers as wet wipes and other items are flushed down the loo in coronavirus lockdown.

As supermarkets around the country run out of loo roll, sewage companies are warning that dumping 'unflushables' down the toilet could lead to huge blockages.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

As panic-buying leaves shelves empty of loo roll, Brits have been turning to other alternatives such as wet wipes, kitchen roll and newspaper.

The shortage of toilet roll is yet to be explained by ministers.

Flushing these items down the toilet causes chaos for the sewage system as they pile up and cause 'fatbergs' - giant masses of waste.

These can jam up drains and are a huge pain to remove for water companies.

THREE P'S

Helen Apps, External Affairs manager from United Utilities, said they were already seeing blockages increase.

She told The Sun Online: "In the last week, we've seen about 7% more waste water blockages than normal.

"Anecdotally our front line team say they are seeing more 'unflushables' turning up in sewers like kitchen towel or wet wipes."

"It's a key time to flag the message that you should only flush the three P's: pee, poo and paper"

"If you have to use an alternative, then put it in the bin rather than flushing it down the toilet!"

Helen also mentioned a host of "unflushable" strange items that have turned up in sewers, contributing to severe blockages.

She added: "We have found all sorts in sewers. All kinds of things: false teeth, children's toys, a stash of stolen car radios... You name it!"

'DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES'

Wet wipes have been the biggest culprit in creating fatbergs, as 90% contain plastic which causes major blockages.

Northumbrian Water found that last year, wet wipes were the cause of nearly two thirds of the 15,600 blockages in the sewers.

These often occurred in the sewer pipes of households, rather than further down in the system.

And Wessex Water has warned people not to flush kitchen roll and wet wipes down the loo.

It costs the water company a whopping £5 million a year to resolve the 13,000 blockages a year.

A spokesman told Somerset Live: "Our simple message is if you are using these items, please put them in the bin, rather than flushing them.

"They are designed to stay intact, unlike toilet paper which can break down in the sewers."

The problem has been particularly bad in Australia, where waste water spills of up to 20,000 litres have been caused by sewage blockages, requiring an expensive clean up.

These will cost Aussie customers $1.4 million a year.

Football news:

Lacazette has rejected the offer of Inter. He can be traded to Atletico for Lemar
Former CSKA chief scout: 99% of a scout's work is wasted. This is a specific feature
Victor Valdes led the club from the Spanish 4th League
Agent Jorginho: Two non-Italian top clubs contacted me
Atalanta defender Castan is of Interest to Tottenham, Leicester and West ham
Captain Valeika was born in Moscow. Russian Russian mother, father-conductor, performed with Celine Dion and still supports Spartak
Scott Makemine: Looking cuts with Zidane, Vieira, Keane. Amazing box-to-box