Mepal Parish Council

A plea from Anglian Water

A Plea from Anglian Water – Why should you care about keeping your pipes clear?

A major problem with the build-up of wipes, sanitary waste, fats, oil and food scraps in local used water pipes is affecting homes and the local environment in our area.

All wipes, apart from moist toilet tissue with the ‘fine to flush’, sanitary pads and tampons MUST be placed in the bin and never down the loo. Only flush the 3Ps – Poo, Pee and Paper (toilet paper). Moist toilet tissue wipes with the ‘fine to flush’ logo can be flushed because they fragment like toilet paper and crucially do not contain harmful microplastics.

Some wipes will say they are flushable – but unless they carry the ‘fine to flush’ log on their packaging they have not passed the water companies’ stringent standards for flushability and will therefore not breakdown quickly enough before causing a blockage. Most pipes from homes are not very big and therefore it does not take long to cause a blockage if these items are being flushed regularly, leading to highly distressing flooding and pollution which is also deadly for fish and wildlife.

Why not consider using reusable cloths and sanitary items, which could save you money and is better for the environment in the long run. Check out Anglian Water’s website for recommendations *

Also make sure you NEVER pour fats, oils or grease and food scraps down the sink. This kind of waste combines with wipes and sanitary waste to create a fatberg. Instead always:-

  • Cool used cooking oil and then collect it in a container and take to a recycling centre in batches. This is collected and converted into biofuel and bio-energy – help save the environment and the planet!
  • For small amounts of cooking oil and fat soak up with a paper towel or scrap into a hot compost system or food caddy.
  • Used, fat and oil along with food scraps can be used as a compost or soil conditioner with the correct devices such as the Hot Composter, Green Johanna, Green Cone Food Digester, Bokashi Bins and Wormeries (never put into an ordinary composter which can only take garden waste and vegetable peelings. Visit AW Direct for more information

Fat used in a roast or cooking can be cooled and kept in a fridge to help make gravy, a roux and other sauces. It can be kept in the fridge for up to three weeks, or frozen in cubes in an ice tray in the freezer where it can be kept for up to a year.

It is your responsibility to make sure the pipes from your home are kept clear to allow the used water to flow freely to its ultimate destination for treatment. Pipes which only carry used water and the 3Ps are self-cleansing, will not block, emit horrible odours or attract rodents. Those that do block pose a threat to the environment when the sewage escapes and is highly distressing and deadly for fish and wildlife if this gets out into water courses, rivers or the sea.

Anglian Water, through its programme Keep It Clear, is working with communities to raise awareness of the issues – the potential harm to the environment, pollution, internal and external flooding, the loss of toilet use, costs and the general misery these blockages cause.

Water companies in the UK have reported 362,000 sewer blockages annually, 70 per cent of which were avoidable. Avoidable means these blockages, which cost some £80million annually across the UK to sort out and £19million in the AW region alone, are caused by behaviours – what’s happening in toilets, bathrooms, and in kitchens.

*Some sanitary items and wipes also contain micro plastics too, naked to the human eye. Menstrual cups and reusable pads can not only help to reduce blockages but also combat the effects disposable items have on the environment.

Collette Parker, Keep It Clear Community Engagement Manager, said: “With the help of residents and communities in general, we can make a difference and keep the system clear to do its job of keeping used water safely in pipes, taking it away from our homes and businesses and recycled.”

Pollution Watch

  • How to spot a due to a blockage?
  • Sewage – including toilet paper, sanitary items, wipes, cotton buds in water
  • Wastewater in places where it shouldn’t be or unusual water flow out of manhole covers
  • Water that is milky or discoloured or oily looking
  • Water that contains soap suds

Let Anglian Water know:

  • If you spot a pollution as described above – act fast by contacting Anglian Water
  • Provide AW with key details, time, location, and conditions in the surrounding area
  • Take photos where possible

Telephone 03457 145 145   or report online

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