Blockages and how to avoid them
Stop the block
Every day homes in your area are affected by blocked sewer pipes.
Together, we can reduce blockages to protect your home and safeguard the environment, just by making some simple changes to our daily habits.
Why do we need to prevent blockages?
Every year, we deal with around 13,000 blockages in the Wessex Water region, costing £5million to resolve, not to mention plumbing bills and drain unblocking callouts if they cause waste to back up into homes.
Around 75 per cent of these blockages involve disposable items and can easily be avoided by following our advice above.
For homeowners a blocked drain is a major burden and a financial inconvenience, but on an environmental scale it can be disastrous.
Blockages can cause pollution in streams, rivers and on our beaches affecting local wildlife and the planet’s ecosystems with waste potentially ending up in the ocean.
What is Wessex Water doing to prevent blockages?
We know that wet wipes, and so-called “flushable” wipes, are the biggest cause of blockages in our region. Sewerage systems are not designed to cope with today’s disposable household products such as make-up, cleaning, toilet and baby wipes.
Consumers can sometimes be misled into thinking these products are safe to flush. That’s why in 2016, we and other water companies called on the Advertising Standards Authority and Trading Standards to review the way these products are marketed. We have also written to manufacturers and supermarkets to voice our concerns, but the response has unfortunately been disappointing.
We write to local communities where blockages have occurred to provide prevention advice. We also proactively encourage customers to ‘Stop the Block’ through the media, our magazine, social media channels and meeting customers at local events.
We engage with foodservice businesses, such as takeaways, restaurants and factories, in our region to ensure they have the right equipment in place to prevent fat, oil and grease being poured into sewers, causing fatbergs.
Throughout the year, our teams carry our sewer inspections and maintain or upgrade pipes where necessary to ensure the network operates as it should do and that waste can safely flow to our water recycling centres to be treated.