THURROCK is being targeted as part of Anglian Water’s new approach to tackling the thousands of sewer blockages and overflows caused by people putting the wrong things down sinks and loos.
The Keep It Clear campaign team will be speaking with residents and food outlets in Tilbury and asking them to think about what they are putting into the drains.
There will also be a roadshow with giveaways and demonstrations at Lakeside on Saturday November 19 to raise awareness among shoppers across the district.
Thurrock Council Waste Recycling Services will be supporting Anglian Water on the stand to help spread the word.
Over the past year, Anglian Water has had to deal with more than 10 sewer blockages a week across Thurrock district, most of them caused by fats, oils and grease (FOGs), which either build up on sewer walls or bind to items like wet wipes and sanitary products which are wrongly flushed down toilets.
More than half of the 15,000 sewer blockages Anglian Water has to deal with across the region each year are caused by these materials.
It’s a problem that costs the company £7 million a year. Then there are the wider social and economical costs of damage caused by sewer flooding to homes and businesses and environmental pollution as a result of blocked pipes.
Over the next weeks, letters will be sent to 5,000 residents in and around Tilbury asking them put items like sanitary waste and wipes into their grey or green bins instead of flushing them away.
Free sink strainers are also being handed out to catch food waste before it goes down the drain. In Thurrock, these scraps can then be put into people’s brown wheelie bins.
At the same time, restaurants, pubs, take-aways and catering businesses will be visited and given a ‘how to’ pack including posters, stickers and information on the safe disposal of cooking waste.
Food businesses are being asked to dispose of fats, oils and greases and food waste legally and to use a registered waste collection service.
Feedback from the community will help Anglian Water understand the best ways to target residents and business across the wider region.
Paul Gibbs, Anglian Water’ Director of Wastewater, said: “By putting things like food, fats and sanitary products in the bin and not down our sinks and loos, we can all help avoid blocked pipes, and the sewer flooding, pollution and bad smells that result.
“Clearing sewer blockages costs a huge amount of time and money, which could be better spent on improving the services we provide to customers.
“This campaign is about getting everyone to understand the responsibility we all share to keep the sewers flowing and protect ourselves and our neighbours from the misery and inconvenience of sewer flooding.”
Thurrock residents can contact Anglian Water for advice and a free sink strainer, by visiting www.keep-it-clear.co.uk