Although undies, socks and other clothing are usually among the most undesirable of Christmas presents left underneath the tree, the water company has said that there is absolutely no reason for items such as this to be flushed down the toilet.
The underwear, which was found blocking the sewer network last week, was discovered in Teesside.
While the water company’s teams regularly find a range of strange items clogged up in their network, the biggest cause of sewer blockages continues to be wet wipes.
During 2020, customer misuse accounted for around 60% of sewer blockages across the region - compared with 67% for the same period last year.
Much like Santa Claus, Northumbrian Water has a “naughty and nice list”, and say they are able to trace where unflushable items such as this have originated from – and could even return the unpleasant presents in an embarrassing Christmas door-step visit.
Simon Cyhanko, Head of Wastewater Networks at Northumbrian Water, said: “We all know the disappointment when you open a present on Christmas morning and it turns out to be socks or underwear - but there is absolutely no excuse to flush anything like this down the toilet.
“We are working hard to raise awareness of the impacts of flushing things that shouldn’t be flushed with our Bin the Wipe campaign, but in extreme circumstances, where our efforts are ignored, we can and would prosecute anyone who continues to flush items such as this.
“Our people are working extremely hard to keep water and wastewater services running over the festive period, therefore I would urge all of our customers to be as mindful and considerate as they can to reduce blockages this Christmas.”
By flushing unflushable items, including wipes, blockages can be caused and sewage can back-up - escaping into people’s homes through toilets or shower trays and have devastating consequences.
It can also cause devastating impacts on the environment, and can cause damage to roads.
To find out more about Northumbrian Water’s Bin The Wipe campaign, visit - www.nwl.co.uk/services/sewerage/bin-the-wipe/