Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 14.00.26Northumbrian Water’s Dwain Pipe and Al the Gator, mascot for Derwentside Homes, have teamed up to help residents in County Durham reduce the number of blocked drains.

The mascot mates have got together as part of Northumbrian Water’s Love Your Drain campaign, which encourages people to take greater care to avoid blockages in the sewer network or in homes.

Since 2014, Derwentside Homes has carried out 1,500 jobs to clear blocked drains across its 6,700 properties in County Durham. The total cost of more than £268,000 equates to an average of £40 per home across the landlord’s properties.

Dwain Pipe is the mascot for Love Your Drain and visits schools and community venues and events, as well as fronting radio, poster and web campaigns, to spread the message ‘only toilet paper, pee and poo go down the loo’. Everything else makes Dwain “sick”, so should be binned, or disposed of in other ways.

Northumbrian Water deals with approximately 14,000 blocked drains every year and more than 3,000 of these are the result of wipes being flushed down the loo. The company spends more than £1 million every year clearing blockages in its 29,000 kilometre sewer network. 

3,000 tonnes of waste that has been wrongly flushed into the sewers, much of it wipes, needs to be removed at Northumbrian Water’s treatment works before wastewater can be treated and safely returned to the natural environment. 

Richard Warneford, Wastewater Direct at Northumbrian Water said: “Love Your Drain is all about helping people to help themselves, through better educating them on what should and should not go down the drains.

“The message that only pee, poo and toilet paper should be flushed will significantly reduce the chances of a blockage and it is the home owner who benefits most from that, because they are the ones who are faced with the consequences.”

Stephen Melvin, Director of Operations at Derwentside Homes, said: “One of the biggest issues our maintenance team faces comes from people putting the wrong things down the toilets, or things such as cooking fats down the sink, meaning we have to go out and clear the blocked waste pipes and attached gulleys.

“Such blockages can, in severe rainfall, which is becoming increasingly common, cause flooding in yards and other problems. 

“While tenants see the individual problems caused at their homes by these actions, I doubt they realise the scale of the workload across our properties and the cost to which their actions contribute.

“By listening to the messages of Love Your Drain, people can really help reduce these costs and also save themselves the problems surrounding the blockages that are caused.”

More information about Love Your Drain can be found at