A crack team of sewer workers is headed to Peterlee to tackle the problem of blockages caused by people wrongly flushing wipes down the toilet.


Northumbrian Water’s Bin The Wipe campaign aims to help customers understand how flushed wipes can lead to sewer flooding.


Through education, the water company hopes to change behaviours and protect homes and the environment from the consequences of blockages that can force waste back the way it came.


Parts of the SR8 2 and SR8 5 post code areas have been identified as areas where high numbers of wipes are being flushed.


Customers in the areas affected will be receiving letters from Northumbrian Water this week. These will explain why people should never flush wipes, even if the label says ‘flushable’.

It will also let customers know that a team will be working in their area, checking for wipes and tracking back up the sewer to find the homes from which they are being flushed.


This can lead the team directly to the doors of those responsible. In turn, this allows them to have direct conversations that further help people to understand the issues and how they can help.


Simon Cyhanko, Head of Wastewater Networks at Northumbrian Water, said: “Wipes are the most common items found to be causing and contributing to blockages in our sewers.


“They’re in more than 60% of blockages and they create a risk that sewers will back up into people’s homes and the environment. That’s because they don’t break down when flushed, the way toilet paper does.


“We know not all customers in these areas of Peterlee flush wipes, but that doesn’t mean the actions of those who do won’t cause problems for them and their home.


“So we have a simple ask: please put your wipes in the bin – even the ones where the packaging says ‘flushable’.


"You wouldn’t use your bin as a toilet, so please don’t use your toilet as a bin. Bin the wipe.”