Thames Water reports ’40kg mass of wet wipes pulled from sewer’ as blockages spike

The UK’s largest water and wastewater company warns there has been a 20% increase in blockages during coronavirus lockdown

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A 40kg mass of wet wipes and other ‘unflushables as ‘heavy as a rottweiler’ has been dragged from a sewer, as blockages in the UK climb almost 20% during lockdown, according to Thames Water. 

The utility company says this bundle was found at a temporary pipe in Shoppenhangers Road, Maidenhead, where the firm is repairing a collapsed sewer. 

Engineers at the scene are clearing such blockages at least once a week to prevent pollution to homes and the environment, with each operation lasting approximately two hours. 

During the coronavirus outbreak, Thames Water has seen an increase of about ten sewer blockages per day compared to normal. 

Stephen Sanderson, Thames Water Area Network Manager, said: “We appreciate and understand everyone is using wipes more and washing their hands a lot more as recommended. But, please remember, the only things that should be flushed down the loo are the 3Ps: poo, pee and toilet paper.  

“Wipes and things like kitchen roll if used instead of toilet paper can’t go down the loo. As nasty as it sounds if people do use them as a last resort, they need to be put in a bin and disposed of safely.” 

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