An image of Christmas lights that were found in a sewer in Canterbury 

It’s that time of year again – the decorations are dazzling and the festive spirit is flowing. But it’s also the time of year when gruesome ‘fatbergs’ can clog up our sewer network, as nasty blockages caused by fat, grease and other ‘unflushable’ items find their way into our pipes. 

We don’t want a post-Christmas and New Year’s catastrophe – blocked sewers can mean flooded toilets, kitchens and even neighbourhoods. So don’t be a party pooper and help us keep things moving. 

Did you know:

  • Across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, and Sussex, there have been almost 95,000 sewer blockages over the past five years
  • Did you know in Kent there have been 37,091 sewer blockages over the past five years.
  • For every 1 million turkeys cooked, around 250 tonnes of fat and oil can find its way into our network
  • Christmas lights, footballs, t-shirts and cutlery are just some of the ‘unflushables’ found in our sewers over recent years. 

Head of Southern Water’s wastewater network, Alex Saunders said: “No-one likes a nasty surprise over the festive season and our sewers are no different. This is the time of year where we see an increase in blockages, and so many of these can be easily avoided. 

“A blocked sewer can cause flooding to homes and businesses and unclogging them can take a lot of time, effort and disruption for local communities. So please only flush the three P’s down the toilet (pee, paper and poo) and avoid putting oils and grease down the drain too.” 

Here are some top tips to play your part in reducing blockages: 

In the kitchen 

  • Fat, oil and grease (known as FOG) should never go down the drain. Instead, gather them in containers, allow them to cool, and put them in the bin 
  • Leftover uncooked food and vegetable peelings can be composted, and cooked foods binned, so they stay well clear of plug holes and drains 
  • Any leftover sauces or yoghurt should be put in the bin too! 

In the bathroom 

  • Flush only the three Ps down the loo – pee, paper and poo 
  • Nappies, baby wipes, tampons, sanitary towels, panty liners, colostomy bags and condoms should be bagged and binned 
  • Cleansing wipes, ear buds, dental floss, plastic razors and cotton pads should go in the bin, not down the loo

If you’re one of our many customers already disposing of household waste in this way, thank you. 

Make one of your New Year’s Resolutions to keep it clear, and you’ll be doing your bit to prevent blockages and flooding. 

By Ed

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