A crack team of sewer workers are headed to Hartlepool as part of a campaign to protect homes and the environment.
Northumbrian Water’s Bin The Wipe campaign aims to stop people flushing wet wipes down the toilet. Analysis of sewer blockages has shown this is particularly problematic in three areas of the town.
The TS24 0, TS24 8 and TS25 5 areas have been identified as ‘hot spots’ for the flushing of wipes.
People living in more than 11,000 homes across the three areas are this week (w/c May 9) receiving letters explaining how blockages caused by wipes can cause sewer flooding in people’s homes or into the environment.
Teams will be monitoring the sewer network in the area. Specialist tools that sit in intersections of the pipes will be used to help to identify which direction wipes have travelled from. Teams can then track back up the network, junction by junction. Eventually, they arrive at the homes of those who are doing the flushing.
Simon Cyhanko, Head of Wastewater Networks at Northumbrian Water, said: “As our team works its way upstream, tracking the wipe flushing, they narrow down the areas from which they are coming and we keep customers informed of progress.
“They are eventually able to rule out homes where wipes flushing isn’t happening. Often they get right to the doors of those people whose behaviour is risking some really nasty consequences for themselves and their neighbours.
“This is great, because it means we can have really good conversations with people and help them make this really simple change that makes such a big difference. Sometimes they aren’t even aware that someone in their home is flushing wipes.
“People in Hartlepool share our passion for great beaches and keeping wipes out of the sewers can help protect our coast, too, because blockages can also cause discharges. So there are so many reasons to dispose of wipes properly.
“We know not everybody in the area flushes wipes, and we thank those who dispose of them properly. However, those who do are putting not just their own homes, but those of the people who live near them, at risk of sewer flooding.
“Ideally, we can use our time in Hartlepool to really reduce the number of wipes in the sewers, and consequently the blockages they cause and the risk to homes and the environment.
“Because that change is so simple – just don’t put wipes down the toilet. Bin The Wipe.”