Blockages and how to avoid them

How to avoid blockages

We deal with around 13,000 blockages on our network every year at a cost of £5million, with around 75 per cent of them involving disposable items.

The blockages are usually caused by:

  • wet wipes including the ones labelled 'flushable' 
  • sanitary items including towels and tampons
  • FOGs (fats, oils, and grease) and food leftovers

Our sewers and your drains are only designed to carry the three Ps - paper, poo and pee

Most of the blockages we deal with can easily be avoided by making simple changes which will help to protect both your home and the environment from sewer flooding.

In your bathroom

Items such as wet wipes and sanitary products should be put in the bin - wipes don’t break down in the same way as toilet paper, and sanitary products and nappies can cause problems too if they are flushed.

These products should not be put in the toilet - dispose of these items in the bin:

  • make-up, cleaning and baby wipes (even if they say ‘flushable’)
  • nappies
  • cotton buds
  • plasters and bandages
  • tampons and applicators (both plastic and cardboard applicators)
  • sanitary and incontinence pads
  • razor blades 

Single-use items are generally bad for the environment, so we recommend trying to use reusable alternatives, such as reusable make-up pads and washable cloths, where possible.


In your kitchen

‘Fatbergs’ cause massive blockages in public sewers and can lead to raw sewage backing up into homes and streets.

To prevent ‘fatbergs’ and to keep drains and sewers clear, scrape leftover food and wipe grease from plates and pans before washing.

Sink strainers also help to catch any small bits of food that might otherwise get into your drain.

These items should not be put down the sink - dispose of them in your food waste or rubbish bin:

  • cooking fat, oil and grease (wait for it to cool before disposing)
  • leftover food from plates and pans
  • coffee grounds
  • kitchen roll

Order your free waste devices

Our free waste devices help you safely dispose of things around the home that can often end up in the sewers. They will help keep your drains clear of blockages and unwanted plumbing bills.

Check what products you are entitled to
Help and advice

Report a blockage

Find out what to do if you have a blockage affecting your home.

Help and advice

Working to prevent blockages

Our teams are working throughout the year to prevent blockages to ensure our network operates as it should do and that waste can safely flow to our water recycling centres to be treated.