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Blocked drains and pipes

We carry out regular inspections and maintenance of all our sewage treatment plants. This includes the emptying and servicing of the mechanical pumps.

This is to help make sure that they’re kept in good working order and don’t have any issues in between regular maintenance.

However, these systems can get clogged up when people flush things down the toilet or wash things down the sink they’re not supposed to. From April to August 2022, we responded to over 200 reports of blocked drains and toilets from our customers across Dorset and Somerset, costing us just over £28,000.

We understand and accept that sometimes you might flush the wrong thing down the toilet or wash the wrong thing down the sink by accident, but we’ve put together a few tips below to help you understand what sort of things you shouldn’t be flushing away or putting down the sink so that it doesn’t become a regular occurrence:

Don't flush wet wipes, cotton balls or buds, feminine hygiene products, nappies or paper towels down the toilet

Some of these products are advertised as being flushable, biodegradable, or eco-friendly but they don’t dissolve straight away and are designed to be absorbent.

They can cause the pipes in your home to clog up and can get tangled up in equipment at the sewage plant which stops it from working properly.

Even if a product is advertised as being flushable, it’s best to bin it just to make sure you’re not clogging your pipes up.

Don't wash grease, fat, or oils down the sink

These can stick together with other things in your pipes to create thick, sticky globs that can coat your pipes until nothing passes through them.

Instead, try putting any leftover grease, fat or oils into a small container which can be thrown away once they cool down and solidify.

Don't wash medicine, chemicals, paint, or garden products down the sink

These substances can damage the biological treatment processing in the sewage plant. Garden products include things like weed killer or fertilizer.

It's best to put these in a general waste bin.

Don't flush condoms down the toilet

These are made of rubber which isn’t biodegradable and will get stuck in your pipes. It’s best to put these in a general waste bin too.

These are some of the most common items which get stuck in the pipes in your home, but there’s lots more things which can cause problems when flushed or washed away such as cigarette butts and cat litter.

If we visit your home to clear a blockage and find it was caused by the wrong thing being flushed or washed away, you may have to pay for any work we carried out, so it’s a good idea to follow the tips above to prevent blockages from happening.

If you’re ever unsure about whether to flush or wash something away, it’s best to try and look it up online first before you do it.

If your toilet is blocked, you can watch our how-to video which explains how you can try to unblock it yourself.

Or, if you have a blocked bath, basin, or sink, you can watch our other how-to video which explains how to unblock these too.

If you’re still having problems, let us know and we’ll come and take a look for you.

Get in touch with us

You might also run into blockages in the gutters, drains, and gullies around your home. These can be caused by a build-up of moss, leaves, or dirt which accumulates over time, so it's a good idea to check them occasionally to make sure that there's nothing blocking them up.

If you notice a blockage, you should let us know so that we can come and clear it for you.

It's also a good idea to check any road drains or gullies near to your home to check for blockages every now and then, as these could cause any roads outside your home to flood and prevent access to your home. If you notice a blockage, you'll need to let the local council know, so we've put some useful links below to help you do this:

If you're ever hit by a severe flood, you should let us know immediately by calling us on 0800 358 6025.