Monday 24 October 2016

Phones, false teeth and golf balls blamed for drain blockages

Published 19/10/2015 | 18:11

There are now typically 35,000 blockages or sewer chokes each year
There are now typically 35,000 blockages or sewer chokes each year

Mobile phones, false teeth, golf balls and large congealed "fatbergs" were amongst the 35,000 blockages found in Scotland's drains in the last year, Scottish Water has revealed.

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A new Keep The Cycle Running campaign will urge people to restrict items they put in the toilet to "the three Ps" - pee, poo and toilet paper.

The number of blockages or sewer chokes has reduced by about 12% from 40,000 to just over 35,000 a year, but this still equates to around 100 items per day and costs £6 million a year to clear.

Around 80% of them are caused by people putting the wrong things down their sinks and toilets.

Thousands of properties can be flooded as a result of blocked sewers, causing costly property damage and pollution to local rivers and burns.

Cooking fat, oils and grease coupled with bathroom waste such as wipes, cotton buds and nappies create a "perfect storm" of solidified fat and material more commonly known as "fatbergs" which cannot break down easily and collect in large clumps.

Chris Wallace, Scottish Water's director of communications, said: "Our campaign is working and has contributed to a sizeable reduction in the number of blocked drains and sewers across Scotland. We thank customers who have responded to our campaign.

"However, this means there are still 35,000 blockages every year, most of which could be avoided if we all followed the advice in Scottish Water's campaign and knew our kitchen and bathroom check-lists.

"The waste water drain which runs from your house to the public sewer is usually only about four inches wide, which is less than the diameter of a DVD.

"This drain is designed to take only the used water from sinks, showers and baths and pee, poo and toilet paper, the three Ps, from the toilet.

"Scottish Water believes the best way to tackle blocked drains and sewer flooding is to work with our customers to prevent blockages that can clog up the cycle in the first place.

"We are also running a TV advert which will encourage everyone to turn off the tap while they are brushing their teeth. Running a tap can use between two and 26 litres of water per minute.

"Although Scotland has plentiful resources of raw water, the treatment and distribution of water is very energy intensive and heating water counts for a sizeable share of energy use. By using less water you can save money - and with high energy prices it makes good sense for Scots to use water wisely."

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