Scottish Water has urged people not to flush wipes, kitchen roll or sanitary products down toilets after having to unblock three choked sewers in Carnoustie over the past week.
The organisation’s “choke squads” have been under increased pressure during the pandemic as households are spending more time at home and using a large number of anti-bacterial wipes, many of which are being flushed.
Between March 16 and 30 Scottish Water cleared 1343 blocked sewer pipes across Scotland, with frontline teams “around the clock”.
A Scottish Water spokesman said: “We are very keen to seek customers’ help with minimising these issues at all times, but especially so in the current circumstances.
“Preventable problems like toilet and sewer blockages caused by flushing items which are not biodegradable in the same way as toilet paper, places added pressure on resources.
“Customers are being asked to help protect the waste water network.”
Scottish Water has asked people to only flush human waste and toilet paper, which can break-down in the sewer system.
The waste water drain which goes from a house to the public sewer is usually only about four inches wide, which is around the diameter of a DVD, and can easily become blocked by a build-up of un-flushable materials.
This can cause homes to flood and sewers to become blocked, sometimes leading to the water supply in a whole street being cut off.
Scottish Water choke squads will currently have minimal direct contact with affected customers in accordance with social distancing guidance.
Garry Kirkwood, Scottish Water’s sewer response manager, said: “Products like wipes, kitchen roll, blue roll and others are not designed to break up in the sewer system and risk causing internal flooding to homes, additional health risks and environmental pollution.
“Some of these items simply won’t make it beyond customers’ toilet pipes. Wipes however are a major cause of the blocks we see in the sewer network.
“This can be an extremely distressing experience for people and cause significant damage to property.
“We are calling for the support of our customers to do the right thing and not contribute to avoidable sewer chokes.”
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