Pollution prevention

Blocked pipes are one of the most common causes of river pollution and flooding. Our sewers and drains are designed to carry the three Ps – Pee, Poo and Paper (toilet).


Every 15 minutes, our teams deal with a blockage in our network, clearing around 40,000 in a year.

If we put things like fat, oil and grease (FOG) down our sinks, and sanitary waste and wipes (known as unflushables) down the loo, it can block sewer pipes and pumps, flooding homes and gardens and spill into local rivers and waterways.

This happens even more during heavy storm events as blocked sewers can’t deal with the rapid increase in the amount of used water flowing through them

80% of sewer blockages are avoidable and caused by items that should be put into the bin.

These items quickly mix together with other sewer debris to create a blockage known as a FATBERG.


This can lead to sewer flooding in homes and pollution of the local environment, which is distressing, costly to put right, and potentially devastating for wildlife and our local waterways and seas.


What is a pollution? ​
There are lots of different types of pollution can affect our rivers from chemical spills and farming run-off to sewage and household waste. Find out more about what a pollution is here.

There’s something we can all do to prevent pollutions and keep our drains clear.  

Our Keep It Clear campaign helps reduce the misery, cost, bad smells and potential flooding and pollution caused by avoidable blockages. Have a look at our tips and advice.

Our Pollution Watch campaign

Is for preventing the impact of pollutions.  When blockages mixed with extreme weather cause pollutions, we need to respond to them as quickly as possible to reduce the impact.


Occasionally wastewater from drains and sewers, can end up in rivers, streams and other watercourses so if you are out and about and see pollutions, please report an issue immediately.

Love our seaside campaign 

Caring for our coastline is very important to us and we’ve invested over £300million pounds over the last 25 years to help protect it. We’ll continue to invest to keep our bathing waters in top condition and improve areas not yet classified as Excellent.


With the longest coastline of any English water company, our coastal campaign is engaging with holidaymakers and those who live by the sea to help reduce the impact of plastic and sewage debris on our beaches.