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Catchment Management

Yorkshire Water launches a ‘Blockage Free Challenge’ for areas with most sewer obstructions

Yorkshire Water has launched its 2019 sewer blockages campaign with an eight-foot tall ‘Wipesaur’ dinosaur mascot, challenging residents in areas with the most sewer blockages to try and become ‘blockage free’.

The campaign involves community engagement teams hitting the streets of Leeds, Sheffield, Huddersfield and Wakefield with ‘Wipesaur’ the mascot to spread the message about the problems wet wipes flushed down toilets can cause sewers.

A £40,000 community fund prize will be awarded for the sewer hotspot area that achieves the lowest number of blockages during the campaign.

Every year, Yorkshire Water is called out to more than 30,000 sewer blockages across the region, costing £2.4 million with 40% of these blockages being caused by wet wipes flushed down toilets.

But it's postcode zones in Leeds (LS8 3,LS8 5, LS9 6), Wakefield (WF17 7, WF13 3), Huddersfield (HD8 0, HD6, HD7, HD9) and Sheffield (S5)  in particular that experience the highest number of blockages caused by wet wipes, up to eight times more than the regional average.

As a consequence, the firm is encouraging residents in these hotspots to act by creating a month-long ‘Blockage Free Challenge’ intended to help improve sewer health.

Sewer technicians at Yorkshire Water will also clean miles of sewers in each of these areas to try and keep them blockage-free.

Adrian Flanagan, leading the blockages campaign for Yorkshire Water said: “If we are to reduce sewer blockages in the long-term then we need customers to take action too by stopping wipes being flushed down the toilet and grease poured down kitchen sinks. We hope the competitive ‘Blockage Free Challenge’ will motivate local residents to take part so they can help secure community funding for the area in which they live.”

The community fund will allow for community organisations, sports teams and charities to bid for grants between £250 and £5,000, with environmental, social welfare, and education projects particularly encouraged.

Adrian added: “We will have community engagement teams working across areas in Leeds, Wakefield, Huddersfield and Sheffield during the next few months to help spread the message of the importance of looking after the sewer network. You may spot them out and about on the streets or at your door, giving away free anti-blockage packs with items such as kitchen sink strainers to use in the home.”

For further information and to apply for funding and read the full terms and conditions please visit our Antiblockage webpage. The deadline for applications is Sunday 19th May.

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