This week I thought I’d talk to you about a new trend spreading across the UK. Using wet wipes in addition to, or even instead of, toilet paper has caused a heated debate, many blocked sewers and rising bills for the water companies. Market research shows that the UK wet wipe market is growing fast, at more than 15 per cent a year. One of the UK’s biggest water companies is spending over £12 million annually on clearing around 80,000 blockages a year on its 108,000 km network with 2,000 calls per month reporting blockages caused by wipes.
As Simon Evans from Thames Water explains, toilet roll takes seconds to disintegrate if you put it in some water, hence it does not cause any harm to the sewers. He highlights that wet wipes do not break down quickly enough even if the packaging says that they are ‘biodegradable’ or ‘flushable’, hence they should never be put down drains. We don’t want to scare you, but ignoring this advice can come at a high cost! Blockages are more likely in suburban areas where pipes are narrowest – anything from 6 to 12inches in diameter – in urban areas all of the pipes that come from our homes to the main sewer pipes are of similar diameter, so you should not feel safe.
As Simon Evans informs us, blockages can result in sewage backing up on to streets, into gardens, into parks. But it can get worst. There are around 1,000 cases a year where sewage is backing up into people’s homes.
One potential solution to the problem is Freshu, an antibacterial foaming toilet tissue gel being recommended by some of the water companies and sold by SaveWaterSaveMoney.co.uk
This revolutionary product can be used to moisten the final sheets of toilet paper, giving you the same cleansing power as a wet wipe but with no awful and costly consequences.
Rob Smiths from Thames Water, comments that thousands of wipes end up every day in sewage works where they are plucked out by special forked prongs and taken to landfill. According to Rob, if people knew what percentage of water bills went on blockages and disposing of these wipes when they get to sewage treatment works customers would make this small effort to bin the wipes and not flush them.