Such blockages can see waste forced back into people’s homes or out into the environment, and more than 60% contain wipes that have been flushed down the toilet.
Northumbrian Water analysts have identified the DL14 6 area as a “hot spot” for such flushing and its Bin the Wipe team is set to start work in the area.
People living in the hot spot will be receiving letters explaining why the campaign is moving into the area, what the team will be doing, and how they can help.
The ask of those people is simple: don’t put wipes down the loo, put them in the bin.
A crack team of sewer workers will then be in the area, monitoring the pipes. Using specially-created tools, they will track wipes upstream in the network, narrowing down areas where this flushing is happening.
As they do so, this narrows down the flushing and allows for further update letters to be sent to those areas, and can eventually lead the team to individual homes, to have face to face conversations that further help people understand why it’s important to Bin the Wipe.
Simon Cyhanko, Northumbrian Water’s Head of Wastewater Networks said: “We are coming to Bishop Auckland to help people make a simple change that could stop sewer flooding to their home, that of a neighbour, or even someone streets away.
“More often than not, sewer flooding caused by flushed wipes is not even the result of the actions of the person whose home is affected. Flushed wipes can start or join blockages anywhere down the sewer network, so it could be right outside your own home, down the street, or further along.
“Even when someone thinks ‘it’s just the one’, their one little wipe will meet those of others nearby and can still cause a major problem.
“So, all we ask is that people Bin the Wipe. You wouldn’t use your bin as a toilet, so don’t use your toilet as a bin.
“We know some people living in the area won’t flush wipes, and I’d like to take this opportunity to express our thanks for that. We just want others in the area to follow suit, because it’s a simple change that can make a huge difference. The response when we have taken Bin The Wipe to other areas in the North East has been really positive and people have embraced the change once they have understood the consequences, so we are hoping the people of Bishop Auckland will do likewise.”