Wipes make up vast majority of material causing sewer blocks study finds

Wipes formed some 93% of the material causing sewer blockages analysed in a study funded by Water UK.

The research – “the biggest ever in-depth investigation of sewer blockages in the UK,” found that less than 1% of the domestic waste in the blockages was identified as products that were designed to be flushed. A “high proportion” of the wipes found in the blockages studied were baby wipes - are not designed to be flushed.

Water UK said there are about 300,000 sewer blockages every year, costing the country £100 million “which could be taken off bills or spent on improving services.”

The investigation of 54 sewer blockages across the UK was the main part of the report: The Wipes in Sewer Blockage Study. It was jointly funded and supported by Water UK, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and EDANA. EDANA is the trade association for wipes manufacturers.

Since January 2017, EDANA has been promoting the use of a ‘Do Not Flush’ symbol on the front of packaging. Its members and retailers are being encouraged to adopt the front-of-pack Do Not Flush logo on non-flushable wipes by October 2018.