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Catchment Management

The weird and wonderful at a water works

Army ammunition, fridge freezers, sofas, mobile phones and even a den – just a small selection of the bizarre surprises that can turn up at sewage works around Yorkshire every day.

Yorkshire Water is releasing a list of some of the more unusual items that turn up at its 640 waste water treatment works as the company pleads with customers to think about what they’re putting into its network.

In the past year alone, Yorkshire Water has dealt with around 20,000 blockages in the 54,000km of pipes it maintains around the region, with half of these being caused by inappropriate things being put into the system.

While the most common of these are items like nappies, cotton buds and wipes or liquids like fats, oils and greases – some more unusual things also cause disruption at the company’s sites.

Notable among these are:

- Live army rounds which caused Yorkshire Water to call in a bomb disposal team to deal with.

- Fridge freezers and sofas

- A den that had been built in one of Yorkshire Water’s larger trunk sewers – including tables and chairs to make it cosy!

- Mobile phones

- Numerous wallets, watches and keys

- False teeth

- A space hopper

While these unusual items might be a source of amusement for some, they can have a major impact on the sewage treatment process which allows Yorkshire Water to safely treat the region’s waste and return it to the environment.

Lee Pitcher, Yorkshire Water’s Head of Waste Water Operations, said: “We want to encourage all of our customers to think carefully about what they’re putting down the drain or the toilet and the effect that could have further down the line.

“Obviously everyone knows you shouldn’t be putting a mobile phone or a wallet down the toilet but it’s actually the less obvious things that people aren’t aware of which create blockages, causing problems for us and our customers around the region.”

Yorkshire Water is urging all of its five million customers to follow a series of tips to keep their Home Happy this winter, which can be found on our home happy page.

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