Middle class homeowners told to stop flushing wet wipes as it 'plays havoc' with sewage system

Jane Howdle
Too posh for paper?: The sewers in upmarket areas are suffering at the hands of wet wipe users (Getty)

Homeowners in a posh postcode are playing havoc with their area’s sewerage system by flushing wet wipes down their toilets.

Residents of Harrogate’s upmarket HG2 postcode have been labelled too posh to use regular loo roll – and the sewers are suffering as a result.

According to the Harrogate Informer, technicians from Yorkshire Water have been called out 185 times in the last two years to deal with serious blockages, using high pressure water jets and suction vacuums to blast the blockages out of the way.

Each of the troublesome fatbergs – grim lumps of fat, cooking oil and sanitary items – costs about £150 to repair.

The expense and inconvenience has prompted staff to go door-to-door in the well-to-do area of North Yorkshire, advising residents to stick to flushing only the ‘three Ps’: Pee, poo and paper.

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James Harrison, Technical Manager at Yorkshire Water, said: “Healthy sewers are vital to avoid pollution incidents that damage the local environment and watercourses. In HG2, we’re noticing a significant increase in the amount of sewer blockages that are impacting on the health of the sewers.

“We understand information from polyester wet wipes manufacturers can be quite confusing as some products say flushable on the packaging. However, we would urge people to dispose of wet wipes in a bathroom bin at all times as although they may flush down the toilet they do not disintegrate like normal toilet paper.”

When quizzed on the topic, wet wipe manufacturer Kimberley-Clark has spoken in defence of its product, saying in a statement: “We stand by our claims of flushability.

“When used responsibly (one to two sheets at a time), Andrex Washlets®, which are made from 100 per cent natural fibres just like toilet paper, do not block properly maintained sewage systems. This is clearly marked on all packaging and on our website.”