A campaign to protect sewer flooding to homes and the environment in the North East will be expanded across the country in 2023 after delivering protection for thousands of families in the region.  


In 2022, Northumbrian Water’s Bin the Wipe campaign saw teams operating in 24 hot spot areas, locations identified as having high numbers of sewer blockages caused by flushed wipes.


The work in those areas saw the team engaging with customers in more than 90,000 households, adding to the communities that had already been visited with the Bin The Wipe message in 2020 and 2021.


Blockages caused by flushed wipes can result in flooding to homes and the environment. Since the campaign launched at the start of 2020, blockages have reduced by 52% in the areas the team has worked, with a 64% reduction in the number of home flooding incidents. 


This success has caught national attention and, through a co-ordinated approach led by industry body Water UK, water companies across the country will adopt the Bin the Wipe message next year.


Earlier this year, a Parliamentary event attended by MPs from across the House, showcased Bin the Wipe, previewing the national roll-out and highlighting the importance of behavioural change on flushing.


Simon Cyhanko, Head of Wastewater Networks at Northumbrian Water, said: “It’s been a really busy, but rewarding year for our Bin the Wipe team, and we are looking forward to 2023.


“In some parts of Washington and Darlington, return visits by the team have shown a 91% reduction in the number of wipes found in the sewers. In a number of other areas, we have seen reductions of more than 80%.


“That’s brilliant, because it shows that the good habit of not flushing wipes has been sustained even after our team have moved out of these areas.


“However, as wipes are the most common things found in blockages, we know there is always more that can be done and more areas to go into. We are really hoping that these behaviours are maintained by those communities we have visited and that they are embraced as brilliantly in those we are in now, as well as the hot spots we will visit in 2023 and beyond.


“It’s also really exciting to know that the rest of the industry, and even Members of Parliament, have been watching, and that the Bin the Wipe message is set to go national. The flushing of wipes is a blight on communities and the environment across the country, and it’s such a simple change that can help make a massive difference in reducing blockages and incidents of flooding. All people have to do to be part of that difference is not put their wipes in the toilet. Bin the Wipe.”