By Tom Heap
BBC Radio 4's Costing the Earth
- Copyright: Thames Water
Thames Water has warned people to stop flushing "alternatives" to toilet paper because large amounts of unflushable items have been blocking up sewage plant machinery.
Engineers at Beddington sewage works in Croydon have had to remove three large blockages from the inlet filter screens at the site in three weeks. The company said they usually would only be cleared every two to three months.
Thames Water believes perceived scarcity of toilet rolls due to bulk buying in the current coronavirus lockdown had meant some people had turned to "alternatives" which were now clogging up pipes and machinery and could lead to the creation of fatbergs.
Adrian Wallis, Beddington sewage works manager, said: “Wipes and things like kitchen roll if used instead of toilet paper can’t go down the loo.
"As nasty as it sounds, if people do use them as a last resort they need to put them in a bin and dispose of them safely.”
Local Democracy Reporting Service
Thames Water has revealed it will donate £10,000 to the Hackney community as a “gesture of goodwill” after a burst pipe triggered massive flooding in Finsbury Park last year.
Queen’s Drive, Brownswood and King’s Crescent Estate residents were hit in October, with 177 homes damaged and water supply to thousands of people cut off.
The Town Hall will be holding a public meeting at Parkwood Primary School at 19:00 on Tuesday to quiz Thames Water on the floods, as well as the water main burst which deluged Lea Bridge in 2018 and the management of its network in Hackney generally.
Kelly Macfarlane, director of customer experience for Thames Water, said: “Following a careful review, we would like to donate a sum of £10,000 to the community as a gesture of goodwill.
“I recognise a monetary value cannot take away from the immense stress and disruption caused.
“It is our way of saying sorry and trying to contribute to something positive for local residents to enjoy, moving forward.”
People who moved into temporary accommodation after experiencing major flood damage in October were given £5,000 by Thames Water.
The company admits that some recipients are “dissatisfied” with the amount, as well as the fact the payment was per household.
A 40-tonne fatberg has been cleared from a sewer in south-east London.
Engineers took three weeks to clear the mass of fat, grease and other material which was discovered earlier this year clogging up a sewer in Greenwich.
At points the blockage took up 80% of the sewer's capacity, according to Thames Water who removed it.
Matt Rimmer, Thames Water's head of waste networks, called it "a massive and disgusting blockage that took a great deal of effort and teamwork to clear".
"We'd urge everyone to help fight the fatberg by only flushing the 3Ps, pee, poo and paper, as well as disposing of fat and oils in the bin, not the sink," he said.