Residents flushing nappies down toilets and pouring cooking oil down the sink is causing hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage, Yorkshire Water has said.
Every week, thousands of items like nappies, sanitary products, wet wipes and cotton wool buds have to be removed from waste water entering treatment works across the region.
This issue costs thousands of pounds to deal with but it can also cause a pollution or flooding incident by toilet related litter and sewage finding its way into the region’s rivers and watercourses.
And the company is also aiming to raise awareness of the damage caused by fats, oils and greases being poured down the sink – congealing and hardening as they cool down to form fatbergs which create blockages.
Last year, a quarter of flooding incidents reported to Yorkshire Water were due to unsuitable materials being put down the sewer.
The firm is investing in unclogging the blockages along its 54,000km sewer network, predominately made up of nappies, wipes and cotton buds gelled together by fats, oils and greases.
George Kotschy, Media Advisor at Yorkshire Water, said: “It is really important that customers understand the impact that disposing of things incorrectly down their toilet and sink can have on their homes.
“It’s all too easy to get rid of items such as wipes and sanitary products by putting them down the loo, but we want customers to think before they flush.
“We’d like them to remember that such actions can cause blockages in our sewers which lead to homes – including their own – being flooded with raw sewage. That’s a deeply unpleasant situation and one we want no customer to suffer.”
Other problems include concrete or plaster being poured down the drain which sets solid, while bricks, rubble and tarmac are also a problem.
Customers can help by:
• Not flushing anything apart from human waste and toilet paper down the drain
• Scraping and wiping plates and pans before washing up
• Collecting waste oil and fat in an old drinks container
• Having food waste collected for energy to waste.