Drain blackspot: South Shields among worst in North East for flushing things we shouldn’t

Northumbrian Water's wastewater director Richard Warneford.
Northumbrian Water's wastewater director Richard Warneford.

People in South Shields are among the worst in the region for flushing things they shouldn’t down the toilet.

Northumbrian Water says the town has one of the highest rates of call-outs for sewer blockages – with its staff turning out 851 times in the last 12 months alone – an average of three a day.

Rags that have caused blockages in South Shields.

Rags that have caused blockages in South Shields.

Of that figure, 239 were caused by wet wipes and 72 by fats, oil and grease solidifying in the pipes.

A further 380 were caused by other things that shouldn’t be flushed – like nappies, toys and phones.

Records also show that residents living in the area had the highest number of blockages, totalling 200.

Now company bosses are advising residents to take more care when flushing things down the loo.

Northumbrian Water’s wastewater director, Richard Warneford, said: “Reducing blockages is a real priority for us because of the damage they do to our sewer network and the very unpleasant consequences for our customers.

“The majority of the blockages that we deal with in the region are caused by ‘soft items’ like wet wipes and sanitary products being flushed down the toilet.

“The next biggest problem is fats, oils and grease that are poured down the sink or washed away in the dishwasher.

“The mix of these two items can cause ‘fatbergs’, like the recent huge monster one found in London, which are solid blockages which increase in size over time and result in the sewers becoming completely blocked.

“This then leads to sewers bursting and can cause sewage to backflow into people’s homes and into neighbourhoods.

“What is really frustrating, from our point of view, is that most of these blockages we see are totally avoidable and are completely caused by people putting unflushables items down the loo.

“The easiest way to think about it is that ‘only toilet paper, pee and poo go down the loo’.

“Anything other than the three Ps goes in the bin, not down the toilet.

“If in doubt then bin it, don’t flush it.”

For more details, visit: www.nwl.co.uk.