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Video: Warning after pants, mobile phones and even wedding rings found blocking sewers in Essex

08:52 02 September 2014

Anglian Water

Anglian Water

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Clacton residents are being urged to keep their pants on by the town’s sewer company.

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Image of a blocked sewer provided by Anglian Water as part of a campaign urging people to use the bin, not the toilet, to get rid of wasteImage of a blocked sewer provided by Anglian Water as part of a campaign urging people to use the bin, not the toilet, to get rid of waste

Anglian Water is reminding people to keep drains after underwear caused a blockage at one of its pumping stations in the town last month.

The company has revealed the garment is not the only thing to cause a problem to the drainage network, with mobile phones and wedding rings also being found in the sewers.

However the biggest cause of avoidable blockages are wipes and cooking fats, and a recent third party poll revealed an estimated 5,000 pairs of pants had to be cleared from the UK’s drains last year.

Anglian Water spends around £7million a year keeping the sewers clear of blockages, which can otherwise result in devastating flooding to homes, gardens and the environment.

It is urging people not to use their toilet as a bin and to think before they flush.

Emma Staples, an Anglian Water spokesman, said: “This particular item of underwear made it through the sewers but ended up choking one of our pumping stations instead. Thankfully, we were able to fix it quickly and nobody was flooded, but it could have been a different story.

“When we have severe storms, we need the sewers to be able to flow freely and work at maximum capacity. This means looking after our ‘underground arteries’ by keeping them clear of debris.

“We’ve found everything from false teeth, mobile phones and even money down the drains.

“Wipes and cooking fats are the biggest problem though. These items combine and congeal underground forming rock hard ‘fatbergs’ that cost millions of pounds every year to shift.”

Anglian Water has a Keep It Clear campaign to raise awareness of the issue, and working with CVS Tendring the number of blockages in parts of Clacton has reduced by 60% in the past year.

For tips and information on how to help visit www.keep-it-clear.co.uk.

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