Wet wipes incorrectly flushed down toilets remain the most common cause of sewer blockages in Yorkshire Water’s network, the company said.
Wet wipes were linked to 11,946 of the 25,976 blockages (46 per cent) the water firm had to clear from its sewer network last year, making up a proportion similar to 2021.
The company warns that many wet wipes contain plastic and, unlike toilet paper, do not break down in sewers, so they can become snagged and stick together to blow sewage flowing through the pipes.
Wet wipe blockages can prevent toilets working, leading to sewage flooding properties, gardens or roads and even cause the pollution of local streams and rivers, the company said.
Other regular culprits for blocking sewers include silt run-off from roads, construction debris, “foreign objects” ranging from tennis balls to bank cards and dolls, unflushables such as sanitary products flushed down toilets, fats and oils poured down drains, and tree roots.
Mark Hammond, head of customer field services at Yorkshire Water, said: “Every day our teams deal with blockages caused by wet wipes, unflushables and foreign objects in the sewer.
“This costs millions of pounds to resolve, money which could be better spent on investment in the wider network.
“We’re urging people to really consider what they flush down the toilet and pour down the drains so we can reduce the number of blockages we deal with in the area.
“Only the three 3Ps – pee, poo and paper – should be flushed down the toilet,” he said.
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