An event in Eastbourne has been aiming to educate us about why we shouldn’t flush things like oil, grease and fat down the toilets.
Run by Southern Water and Eastbourne Borough Council in Terminus Road yesterday (30 June) it gave customers the chance to see the sewers beneath their feet.
There are blockage ‘hotspots’ all over the Southern Water region, but this is the first time that Southern Water has worked collaboratively with a Council to hold a ‘Day of Action’. It is the latest venture in Southern Water’s £1.4million, five-year investment programme to help customers understand the problems that fat, oil, grease and unflushables cause along our 39,000KM of sewers.
The day of action was co-ordinated by Steve Williams, one of Southern Water’s Network Protection Enforcement Officers, along with Eastbourne Borough Council.
Speaking the day after the event, Steve said, “Sewer flooding can be a really upsetting experience for our customers, so we want to raise awareness of what we should and shouldn’t be putting down our sinks and toilets – like wipes, sanitary items and nappies - in order to keep drains and sewers flowing clear.
“When we started talking to Eastbourne Borough Council about the issue, they were really keen to work with us to hold a ‘Day of Action’ in the town centre. After all, Eastbourne and the surrounding area flushed 197 tonnes of unflushable items in a year: that’s more than 14 double decker buses.
“Lifting manhole covers in the middle of Eastbourne provided not only a great talking point, but also helped our customers to understand the kind of issues we’re dealing with, and see the problems that could cause their homes, gardens and businesses to flood. Coupled with our visits to 27 food establishments and 104 local residences and the jet-cleaning of the sewers in the local area, we’re confident Eastbourne can start the summer season with super sparkling sewers – and keep them that way.
“Sewer pipes are much smaller than many people think – only about 10cm (four inches) in diameter, which is about the size of an orange. The only things we can safely flush down our toilets are the three Ps – pee, poo and paper. All other items, like nappies, cotton buds and wet wipes, or oil and leftover food in the kitchen, should all go in the bin rather than down the kitchen sink, and into our drains and sewers.
“Our day of action in Eastbourne really was a fantastic day. We’re now looking to work with other local councils across our region to introduce similar days in other hotspot areas.”
To round off the day, Southern Water did a complete jet-washing of the sewers around the Terminus Road area. They will conduct follow-up visits in the early autumn to check on the sewers.