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Catchment Management

Yorkshire Water calls for better communication from wipe companies

Yorkshire Water is calling on wipe companies to do more to encourage customers to throw wipes in the bin and not the toilet.

The firm is called out to more than 30,000 sewer blockages every year, costing £2.4 million with 40% of incidents caused by wipes.

Wipes are the most convenient way to remove make up and clean up after a dirty nappy, however disposing of them in the toilet rather than the bin can lead to nasty consequences. Although some are labelled as flushable, wipes which contain plastic do not break down in the sewers like toilet paper, meaning they can cause pipes to block and waste water to come back up through toilets and sinks.

As part of Yorkshire Water’s commitment to reduce the number of customers who experience sewer flooding incidents in their home by 70%, it is launching a new customer awareness campaign to raise awareness of the problem that flushing wipes can cause.

As well as asking customers to ‘stop flushing’ Yorkshire Water is also calling on companies who produce the wipes to help them get the message across.

Customer Service Manager at Yorkshire Water, Tom Phillips said: “Flushing wipes down the toilet can have horrible repercussions to our customers’ homes. They do not break down and can quickly build up, causing blockages which are not only unpleasant but can cost homeowners a lot of time and money to clear up.

“There’s a simple rule for things you should flush down the toilet; stick to the three Ps – pee, poo and paper. Many supermarkets are proactive and have warnings on the packaging, however a lot of the major brands show little in the way of advice on how to dispose of wipes leaving many customers unaware of the consequences of flushing wipes down the toilet.

Tom adds: “We would like wet wipe manufacturers to increase the prominence of the ‘no flushing’ symbol on their packaging and let their customers know that wipes can cause blockages.”

The campaign which will move around the county’s hotspots will run across social media, and will include door drops and billboard advertising in targeted areas where wipes are the biggest cause of regular sewer blockages. These include Sheffield, Leeds and Huddersfield.

Over the coming months Yorkshire Water will be working with these community hotspots and schools to educate and inform people of the problems flushing wipes brings, providing them with alternative ways of disposal and finding out what their thoughts are on how this problem can be solved together.

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