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Thank you Leigh – that’s the message from United Utilities after a reduction in the number of sewer blockages in the town.
Earlier this year the water company for the North West spent time meeting people in Leigh to remind them of the importance of not flushing wet wipes or pouring cooking fats, oils and grease down the sink.
The visit followed an increase in blockages in the WN7 postcode area which had seen more than 200 avoidable blockages caused by either wet wipes or a build-up of fats and greases in the drains in the previous 12 months.
Events were held at Spinning Gate shopping centre, the library and a community centre where a team from United Utilities shared information and distributed fat traps which catch fat and food debris so it can be safely disposed of in the bin.
Pupils from Christ Church C of E Primary School also went round the u-bend to get an insight into the secret-life of sewers with a little help from some ‘mad scientists’. Throughout the day, the whole school took part in a series of fun interactive workshops to learn more about how the sewer system works – and how problems can arise when wet wipes and bathroom rubbish as well as fatty food waste is put down the drain.
In the four months since the activity was completed, the number of blockages has fallen with each month and fewer have been caused by either wet wipes or fats and grease.
Lauren Kelly from United Utilities, explained: “In the 12 months before the visits, our teams were called out to deal with 190 blockages caused by wet wipes and another 30 caused by fats and grease in the WN7 postcode area.
“Those blockages had created 45 floods on the sewer network and three floods within customers’ properties – that’s the last thing anyone wants to deal with.
“When we met with customers in Leigh they told us they hadn’t realised they couldn’t put cooking fats down the drain, others mentioned that they were confused about whether wet wipes are flushable.
“We always remind our customers that only pee, poo and toilet paper can go down the loo – and it is great to see such a positive response from people in Leigh.
“Keeping the sewers flowing helps stop flooding which is better for the environment, and it saves customer having to deal with messy and expensive blockages in their homes, it’s a win win.”