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Yorkshire Water has identified the HG2 postcode area of Harrogate as a sewer blockage hotspot. The Water company’s sewer technicians have been called out to the area more than 185 times over the last two years to unblock the sewers.

Yorkshire Water has zoned in on wet wipes as a major culprit for the cause of blockages, which are becoming more and more popular as a luxury toilet roll. The firm comes in for some costs of approximately £150 for the repair of each blockage that occurs.

Quite surprisingly, bricks and planks of wood have also been found lingering in the local sewer system.

Consequently, the firm is appealing to residents in the area to only flush the ‘3Ps’ – pee, poo and paper. It’s also going door-to-door in the area to engage with residents on exactly how they can help avoid the problem.

James Harrison, Networks Manager at Yorkshire Water, said: ” Healthy sewers are vital to avoid pollution incidents that damage the local environment and watercourses. In HG2, we’re noticing a significant increase in the amount of sewer blockages that are impacting on the health of the sewers. To tackle this escalating problem, we plan to communicate with local residents and community groups to make customers aware of what can and cannot be flushed down the toilet or poured down the sink.”

The team’s sewer technicians have been handed the task of keeping the sewers flowing. These ‘sewer crusaders’ make use of high pressure water jet sprays along with suction vacuums to rid the sewers of blockages and keep them flowing.

When wet wipes are flushed down the toilet, their fibres remain in river systems and seas for decades, posing a real threat to marine life and they can take up to 100 years to disintegrate. Better alternatives are gel wipes, with the gel applied to toilet paper having the same soothing effect, except with the benefit of being 100% flushable.

James Harrison added: “We understand information from polyester wet wipes manufacturers can be quite confusing as some products say flushable on the packaging. However, we would urge people to dispose of wet wipes in a bathroom bin at all times as although they may flush down the toilet they do not disintegrate like normal toilet paper.”

The areas covered by the HG2 postcode include Oatlands, Woodlands, Rosett, Hookstone, Harlow Hill, Pannal Ash and Hornbeam Park. Hundreds of sewers cover this area, carrying domestic and commercial waste to the local Harrogate South sewage plant.

Over the coming three years, the company will be making an investment of £252 million to improve the quality of the region’s sewer network.

Andy McGowan
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