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Ask Southern Water’s experts about ‘The Unflushables’ - items that could cause a sewer flood in your home - £150 voucher to be won NOW CLOSED

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AmeliaMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 28-Mar-17 09:16:42

Every year in England and Wales water companies deal with over 300,000 blockages, many of which are caused by common household items being flushed down the toilet. That’s why Southern Water, along with the Consumer Council for Water, have launched ‘The Unflushables’, a campaign to help people protect themselves from the misery of sewer flooding. Many products that have been labelled as ‘flushable’ can actually contribute to these types of problems, so, to clear up some of the confusion, the team at Southern Water are offering you the opportunity to ask some of your burning, sewer-related questions to their expert, Sharon Holdstock!

Here’s what Southern Water have to say: “‘The Unflushables’ campaign aims to help people know how to properly dispose of fat, oil, grease and unflushable items like wipes, tampons, nappies and condoms. It’s designed to help customers understand the impact a sewage flood in their house can have – and provide some hints and tips to help prevent it.”

Post any questions you might have about ‘The Unflushables’ - how to dispose of them, what can and can’t be flushed, or how to get into good habits to prevent sewer flooding, and we’ll pick 20 for Sharon to answer. Everyone who posts their questions will be entered into a prize draw where one lucky Mumsnetter will win a £150 voucher of their choice (from a list).

Here is some information about Sharon Holdstock:

Sharon is currently Southern Water’s Field Customer Engagement Officer, and has been with the company for five years. She travels to areas that have been affected by flooding caused by blocked drainage systems and advises people on what not to flush, giving talks and presentations around the community. She is passionate about this project, and about the importance of getting the message out to as many people as possible to help them protect their homes and the environment.

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw,


Standard Insight T&Cs apply

GoodyGoodyGumdrops Tue 28-Mar-17 17:26:22

The general rule seems to be only to flush stuff that has come out of your body, and toilet paper.

But what about moist toilet tissue (the pre-packed sort) or tissues (the nose-blowing sort)? Especially if they're greasy because you've used them to wipe off excess face cream or sunscreen.

When I wash the floor I pour the dirty water down the loo. Is that OK?

ActuallyThatsSUPREMECommander Tue 28-Mar-17 18:02:28

Two questions:

Are you going to campaign for a change in labelling of "flushable" toddler toilet wipes? Realistically speaking, if you can't flush them they'll be a much less attractive prospect so I imagine the manufacturers will fight tooth and nail.

And I've occasionally flushed leftover gravy or curry sauce down the toilet on the basis that it's essentially the same consistency as bodily effluent which you are allowed to flush. Is that OK, or not?.

WowOoo Tue 28-Mar-17 18:12:15

I know this isn't toilet related, but it's still a problem. I think ways of disposing of oil needs to be more widely publicised. The amount of people who don't know that it shouldn't go down the drain is shocking!
How could you make people more aware of this?
Agree with above poster that wipes should be non flushable - all of them.

Asmoto Tue 28-Mar-17 18:16:49

My question is -

Will your campaign include asking manufacturers to add prominent warnings to 'anti-bacterial wipes'?

Our drainage system became blocked with these - not by my household because we don't use them - but I was the one who had to pay a plumber £200 to come and unblock them when sewage from my loo started coming up through the drain cover whenever I flushed it!

The plumber told me anti-bacterial wipes were a common cause of blocked drains. I think they need prominent 'do not flush' warnings on the packaging - it would be great if you could encourage the manufacturers to add these!

BeeMyBaby Tue 28-Mar-17 18:17:45

I agree with the above about making manufacturers remove their false flushable claims. Not about toilets but does using waste disposal units (to mush up and flush away veg peelings) add to the problem? If so why? Someone previously posted that it does cause an issue but I can't see much difference between that and body waste.

like7 Tue 28-Mar-17 18:49:19

So pleased to read of this campaign. I think that there is so much confusion over what you can and cannot put down the toilet. I think that lots of people flush anything just for convenience. Also lots of toilets (in houses and public places, offices etc don't have rubbish bins in them, so what is the best thing to do with the rubbish if not put it down the toilet?) Is it more environmentally friendly to wrap sanpro in toilet paper rather than use special plastic bags?

theresamustgo Tue 28-Mar-17 18:49:25

We blocked up all our plumbing recently with just toothpaste spit. Is this a common thing? Could something be requested of manufacturers to stop such a thing happenings?

DaisyBlameless Tue 28-Mar-17 18:51:48

Is it really bad to flush tampons?

EmpressOfTheSpartacusOceans Tue 28-Mar-17 18:53:19

I think it would also be helpful to publicise that tampons aren't flushable. It's one of those things every woman should know but a lot seem not to.

EmpressOfTheSpartacusOceans Tue 28-Mar-17 18:53:21

I think it would also be helpful to publicise that tampons aren't flushable. It's one of those things every woman should know but a lot seem not to.

Signoritawhocansway Tue 28-Mar-17 18:54:10

We only flush pee poo puke and paper here. I worry about chemicals... how much cleaning chemical is safe to use?

UpOnDown Tue 28-Mar-17 18:56:31

is it ok to tip a mop bucket down there?

Gazelda Tue 28-Mar-17 18:57:33

Is quad-quilted velvet super-soft loo roll a lot worse than 2-ply? I'm guessing it is ...

RainbowHash Tue 28-Mar-17 19:42:55

There definitely needs to be more publicity about the damage unflushables can cause - on the environment as as well our plumbing. I didn't know about tampons - I was taught at school you could flush them! I would be interested to hear more about safe oil disposal too. And what actually happens to our waste?!

specialsubject Tue 28-Mar-17 19:43:31

Water, Bog roll and body waste down the toilet in the UK. Nothing else, however many bunnies on the pack.

Doesn't need a q and a, just a simple statement.

NotCitrus Tue 28-Mar-17 19:48:12

Is the current Government supportive of proposals to remove the word 'flushable' from packets of items that shouldn't be flushed?

What about labels on bottles of cooking oil to say 'Do not pour down drains - put in food waste'?

HermanCakeDestroyer Tue 28-Mar-17 20:15:21

Hi there. Is there such a thing as a flushable wet wipe? I'm sure I saw some advertising about some wet wipes that could 'simply be flushed down the pan' I might be wrong!

TinfoilHattie Tue 28-Mar-17 20:46:49

More a kitchen sink problem - what about cooking fat? Should we be scraping any fat out of pans and are some types of fat worse than others?

BlackeyedPetitsPois Tue 28-Mar-17 21:02:09

What about so called flushable toilet wipes? So they disintegrate like they are meant to?
Also what about hair? My friend says she picks all the hair from her hairbrush and shoves that down the loo.
Apart from loo paper I never flush anything else down the loo that's not been produced by a human body!!

rachaelsit Tue 28-Mar-17 21:06:07

I wonder about tampons....

vickyors Tue 28-Mar-17 21:14:42

Can you flush tampons? Aren't they the same as toilet paper?
Also, can tissues that you blow your nose on be flushed?
I never know, and tend to use my snotty tissues in the fire..

ActuallyThatsSUPREMECommander Tue 28-Mar-17 21:19:25

What do you wonder about tampons? They go in the bin. They have labels on the box saying "wrap it up and put it in the bin".

CMOTDibbler Tue 28-Mar-17 21:33:59

If you have shared drains, is there anything you can do to reduce the chances of a blockage from things your neighbours flush?

MrsOllyMurs Tue 28-Mar-17 21:46:45

Does pouring bleach and other cleaning products down the toilet have any impact on blockages? (Eg preventing them) and on the environment?

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