Keep It Clear message at point of sale on a shelf in the Morrison store

Morrison’s Cambourne and Anglian Water join forces to prevent sewer flooding.

Shoppers in Morrison’s Cambourne will this week receive a range of freebies at the checkout to help reduce the amount of cooking fat and unflushable items, like wet wipes, entering the sewers to prevent sewer blockages.

Morrison’s has teamed up with Anglian Water to tackle a particular local problem in Cambourne where large numbers of wet wipes are being wrongly flushed down the toilet. These overload the nearby pumping stations, which are essential for moving sewage over the flat land to the treatment works, and pose a real risk of sewer flooding to customers’ homes and gardens.

The pumping stations at Cambourne have been blocked frequently and even though Anglian Water has invested £28,000 on two new super pumps, the number of wipes found was far greater than anywhere else in the region.

Many residents are unaware that wipes and sanitary waste and other household items flushed down toilets and drains are one of the biggest causes of sewer pump failures. More than half of the 35,000 blockages Anglian Water clears each year are completely avoidable, caused by cooking fats and unflushable items, at a cost of around £7 million a year.

Now, Anglian Water, Morrison’s, Cambourne Parish Council, the local Housing Associations and Housing Developers are working together to raise awareness and help residents prevent the misery and inconvenience that sewer flooding causes.

Steve Dadge, Store General Manager for Morrison’s Cambourne, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support the local community and our customers on what is an important issue that could affect us all. As well as the goodie bags we’re also putting point-of-sale signs at strategic positions around the store near wipes, turkey, and cooking oil to raise awareness of the campaign to keep sewers clear.”

Cooking fats, oils and greases washed down the plughole are also responsible for thousands of avoidable sewer blockages each year – a problem which is worse at Christmas when roasting turkeys and the trimmings will see around 250 tonnes of left over fat enter the drains.

Once underground these cool quickly, coating the walls of the sewers and creating giant ‘fatbergs’ when they bind together with all the other items, such as wipes, nappies and sanitary products, which shouldn’t be flushed in the first place.

Rachel Dyson, who manages Anglian Water’s Keep It Clear programme, said: “Hundreds of fat traps, sink strainers, waste bags and information leaflets will be given to customers doing their Christmas shopping in Morrison’s Cambourne today. We hope these and the signs in store will remind shoppers to dispose of waste fat and unflushable items responsibly and put a stop to sewer blockages in the area.”

“It doesn’t take much: put wet wipes in the bin not down the toilet; let fat in baking trays cool before scraping it, and any food leftovers, into the bin; and give your crockery, pans and tins a quick wipe with kitchen towel before loading the dishwasher or doing the washing up to remove greases.”

Anglian Water is urging customers and businesses to join its Keep it Clear campaign and help stop these nasty blockages all year round. Customers can order a free sink strainer to stop scraps going down the plughole and get lots of extra tips to avoid sewer problems by visiting www.keep-it-clear.co.uk