Scottish Water launch campaign to reduce blockages

Scottish Water has launched a campaign to highlight the impact of blockages caused by customers putting the wrong things down sinks.

More than 40,000 blockages in Scotland’s drains and sewer network last year were attended by Scottish Water, and new figures show that approximately 80 per cent are caused by people putting the wrong things down their sinks and toilets.

Cooking fat, oils and grease coupled with bathroom waste such as cotton buds, nappies and baby wipes creates a perfect storm of solidified fat and material that can’t break down easily like toilet paper and collects in large clumps beneath Scotland’s streets. These blockages create costs of over £7 million a year for the publicly owned utility firm.

This leads to the misery of flooding of thousands of properties across Scotland, leaving householders and communities with the hassle and expense of repairing damaged property and sometimes resulting in pollution to local rivers and burns.

Chris Wallace, director of communications at Scottish Water, said: “The waste water drain which runs from your house to the public sewer is usually only about four inches wide, which is less than the diameter of a DVD.

“This drain is designed to take only the used water from sinks, showers and baths and pee, poo and toilet paper from the toilet. Scottish Water believes the best way to tackle blocked drains and sewer flooding is to work with our customers to prevent blockages that can clog up the cycle in the first place.

“We are also running a new TV advert which will encourage everyone to turn off the tap while they are brushing their teeth. This water comes straight out of the tap and goes down the plughole and running a tap can use between two and 26 litres of water per minute.

“Although Scotland has plentiful resources of raw water, the treatment and distribution of water is very energy intensive and the heating of water counts for a sizeable share of energy use. Research by the Department for Energy and Climate Change shows that 18% of domestic energy is used for heating water. By using less water you can save money - and with high energy prices it makes good sense for Scots to use water wisely.”

Scottish Water’s new advertisement campaign will be broadcast on STV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and on 14 radio stations across Scotland. The campaign will run for seven weeks.

Customers can learn more about what they can do to keep the cycle running, what should not be flushed down toilets or poured down sinks and how they can save their drains, protect their homes, their neighbours’ homes and the local environment at