Following a recent blockage in the waste water network, residents are being asked to make sure that they dispose of sanitary and personal items including nappies, baby wipes, old rags and cloths responsibly, with their household refuse, rather than flushing it down the toilet. Bill Elliot, Scottish Water’s regional community manager for the Borders is asking customers for their support in protecting the local environment.
He commented: “Scottish Water is playing its part to improve the natural environment for every community however, we need local people to play their part.
“Nappies, baby wipes, sanitary towels and rags can all cause chokes and blockages within the waste water network. This causes discharges, spoiling the environment for everyone. We need local people to play their part and bag it and bin it - don’t flush.”
In Scotland it is estimated that a shocking 340 million items of sanitary waste are flushed every year. Annually around £6 million is spent trying to fix these blockages and repair the damage.
Scottish Water has also found that 55 per cent of all sewer blockages are caused by people disposing of cooking fat down their sink. This also clogs sewers and pumping stations; leading to sewage overflows, potentially damaging the environment.
Bill added: “The waste water system simply isn’t designed to cope with these things, whether its fats and grease or blockages caused by sewer pipes and damage to screens at our treatment plants.
“This means waste can escape into rivers, not only risking public health, but also wildlife and the environment.”
Scottish Water is giving Co’path residents the following advice:
What can be flushed?
Human waste - Toilet paper (not too much and not the moist, extra strong type).
What shouldn’t be flushed but bagged and binned instead?
Sanitary items - Towels, tampons, applicators, panty liners, backing strips, disposable nappies and liners should not be flushed, but disposed of responsibly with household refuse. All wipes, including baby, bathroom and toilet; incontinence pads, condoms and femidoms, colostomy bags, bandages and plasters, should also be disposed of in this way.
Bin all of these: Cotton buds, cotton wool, contact lenses and toothbrushes
Dangerous items: Place razors and razor blades in a rigid container and put in the bin. Take syringes and needles to a needle bank (ask your GP for the location). Return medicines and contraceptives to your local pharmacy. When the label says ‘disposable’, it does not always mean it can be flushed down the toilet.
Fat blockages cause pollution, flooding, public health hazards and have major clean up costs.
Saturated fat causes the most problems. This is animal fat which goes hard when it cools.
Mono-unsaturated fats such as olive oil and rapeseed solidify when refrigerated so can caused problems in sewers in cold weather
Alternatively, families can feed the birds by collecting animal fats such as bacon grease and chicken fat to create fat cakes.