Scots town hotspot for sewage blockages as residents encouraged to ditch wipes

Annan has been revealed as one of Scotland’s hotspots for sewage blockages caused by residents flushing wipes down their toilets – instead of just the “3Ps” of pee, poo and (toilet) paper.

As part of its Nature Calls campaign, designed to encourage people to help prevent blockages which can cause flooding of properties and pollution, a Scottish Water team will be in Annan during October to ram home the message of “bin the wipes” that cause them.

Scottish Water’s community engagement team plan to host a stall in a local supermarket where the community can discuss the issue of blocked sewer pipes and will give away free products to aid behaviour change including reusable wipes, small bathroom bins and gunk pots for kitchen use to dispose of fats, oil and grease.

And the town will be on the receiving end of a bold new shaming tactic by Scottish Water’s sewer response teams – who clear about 36,000 blockages per year across the country.

They’ll be equipped with new signage about their work which they will display before leaving a street stencil on the pavement of call outs in the town saying: “Another blockage cleared. Flushing wipes blocks pipes. Bin the wipes.”

Garry Kirkwood, customer manager for Sewer Response at Scottish Water, said: “We will use them whenever our Sewer Response teams attend to clear a blockage and the towns that our Community Engagement teams attend have been selected because they all have a high number of sewer blockages for their population size. To some, the street stencils might be regarded as graffiti, but they are temporary and convey a very important message.

“The real damage is happening below the surface and it is this which we are highlighting with the stencils.

“They use environmentally friendly chalk-based paint that weathers and washes away naturally in around six weeks and, for safety reasons, they will be placed only on pavements and not roads.

“We hope the signage and stencils have a lasting impact wherever they are used.”

Scottish Water clears about 100 blockages per day and wipes are found in 80 per cent of them. It costs about £216 to clear an individual blockage and about £23,000 per day to attend to them across Scotland.

Other Scottish towns named as hotspots are: Peebles, Galashiels,Hawick, Fort William, Thurso, Wick, Alness, Dingwall, Buckie and Cumnock.

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