The county’s water company has asked the public to be mindful when disposing of DIY materials, as Google searches for ‘how to get rid of concrete’ reach a five-year peak[i].
Over the last month Yorkshire Water has dealt with several large blockages in its sewer system, as a result of people disposing of DIY items down their drain or toilet. With the amount of people carrying out DIY on the rise, and local waste centres being closed for the foreseeable future, it is important to remind the public that materials such as paint and wet concrete should not be flushed.
One blockage in West Yorkshire was caused due to a large build up of concrete in the pipe – after numerous attempts to remove it with high pressure water jetting, Yorkshire Water will now attempt to remove it with a 3 meter deep excavation onto the sewer, costing over £25,000.
Another blockage in Wakefield was caused by a flushed tape measure and a concrete blockage in Barnsley was so large it had to be removed by specialist machinery, known as a super recycler.
Yorkshire Water’s staff are categorised as key workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, as they work around the clock to maintain the water and sewerage networks. The company has increased staff PPE and educated all key workers of social distancing regulations, however there is still concern that these avoidable blockages are resulting in unnecessary exposure for the public and staff members.
Mark Hammond, Head of Customer Field Services at Yorkshire Water said: “A lot of people are carrying out home improvement projects and looking for ways in which they can keep busy at home. With the usual disposal options difficult to access, a number of people have turned to our water and sewage system to get rid of their excess DIY materials, resulting in blockages and avoidable issues for our engineering team.
I’d like to remind everyone to only flush the three Ps: pee, poo and (toilet) paper.”