Blockages and how to avoid them

Blocked sewers

We are responsible for maintaining public sewers.

As a homeowner, you are responsible for private sewers and drains.

When a public sewer gets blocked, we will unblock the sewer free of charge; you are responsible for dealing with a blocked private sewer or drain.

Before employing a drain clearance service, it is important to check whether a blockage is in a public or private sewer. If you think you have a blocked sewer, please contact us so we can find out whether it is a public or private sewer.

Most blockages can be cleared within minutes so if it is your responsibility remember to obtain a clear breakdown of the costs involved before employing a contractor.

If you are affected by sewer flooding, we are able to help and, where appropriate, pay compensation.

Our sewers are not designed to cope with modern disposable products and as a result these items can cause blockages.

Around 75% of blockages involve disposable items and this costs British householders millions of pounds annually in plumbing bills.

To avoid this unnecessary expense follow our advice on how to avoid blockages.

“75% of sewer blockages are caused by disposable items, such as wet wipes, being flushed down the toilet”

Stop the block

Keeping your drains and sewers clear

To stop the block in the bathroom, our advice is to only flush the three Ps:

  • paper    
  • poo
  • pee

Don’t forget: If you have a dual-flush toilet, use the small flush for paper and pee and the long flush for poo.

To protect your pipes from blocking and causing sewer flooding remember to put items such as wet wipes and sanitary products in the bin.

Wipes don’t break down in the same way as toilet paper. Sanitary products and nappies can cause problems too if they are flushed.

Every day homes in your area are affected by blocked sewer pipes – and many of these could have been avoided.

Blockages can result in what you flush coming back up through the toilet, sink or manhole and causing misery by flooding your home or a neighbour’s.

Unblocking sewer pipes and repairing or replacing pumps is expensive, potentially adding to your water bill.

Blockages can cause pollution in streams, rivers and beaches.

In the kitchen

Pouring cooking oil, fat or grease down the sink can also cause blockages.

Food waste and cooking fats in liquid form might not appear harmful, but they congeal when cooled to form blockages in pipes, drains and sewers.

Here are our top five tips to help you stop the block in the kitchen:

  • avoid pouring cooking oil, fat or grease down your sink or drain
  • wipe and scrape any leftovers off plates into the food waste bin before washing up
  • use a strainer in your sink plughole and empty any contents into the food waste bin
  • keep oily or fatty pots and pans out of the dishwasher
  • wrap coffee grounds in newspaper and place them in the food waste bin