South Shields postcode revealed as hot spot for wet wipe sewer blockages

An area in South Tyneside is being targeted by water experts fighting sewer blockages caused by people flushing away wet wipes.

Northumbrian Water has identified the NE34 7 area of South Shields – Horsley Hill and Marsden – as a hot spot for wipes being found in sewer blockages and is calling on people to change their ‘poor flushing habits’ to protect homes and the environment.

The team is part of the company’s Bin The Wipe campaign, which was established after wipes were found to have caused or contributed to 64% of the 16,500 blockages in the North East’s sewer network in 2019.

The water firm says the NE34 7 area is the region’s most prolific location for customers flushing wipes.

Wet wipes sewer blockage warning


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Letters are sent to customers pointing out the danger of waste back being flushed back into homes sewer workers then monitor the network, tracking wipes back upstream, and narrowing down where they have come from until they are able to have face-to-face conversations with the customers responsible.

Simon Cyhanko, head of Wastewater Networks at Northumbrian Water, said: “Wipes are the number one item found to be involved in blockages, which can have a horrendous impact on customers by forcing waste back into their homes.

“We want to stop that happening, and if we all stopped flushing wipes, it would have a massive impact on the number of blockages that occur.

“We understand that some packaging says that some wipes are ‘flushable’, but just because something disappears around the u-bend, doesn’t mean it can’t still snag or settle in a pipe and cause a problem.