Anglian Water backs Unblocktober campaign to reduce sewer blockages and protect the environment

08 October 2020


With over 40,000 blockages a year blighting the sewer network, Anglian Water are joining the call to arms as part of the Unblocktober campaign this month to help stop environmental pollutions caused by putting the wrong things down the drain.


Unblocktober is the world’s first month-long national campaign and awareness month to improve the health of our drains, sewers, watercourses and seas - driven completely by the British public. The campaign highlights sixteen key items which should not be flushed down toilets of put down sinks, including wet wipes, sanitary products, fats, oils, grease and contact lenses.


Anglian Water’s Keep it Clear programme focuses on this growing issue and over the past 12 months has seen a 24% reduction in blockages caused by unflushables, however the problem continues to cost the water industry over £88million a year.


Nicola Harvey at Anglian Water said, “Our sewers and drains are only designed to carry the three Ps – Pee, Poo and Paper. A decade ago, we started our own Keep it Clear campaign to raise awareness of the devasting environmental impacts that can result from the wrong items getting into sewer networks, and is why we’ve supported the Unblocktober campaign since it began.


“Our teams work tirelessly across the region to help keep our sewer networks clear.  Every year, we clear around 40,000 blockages from our sewers alone, that’s one every 15 minutes. Even more shockingly, 80% of these blockages are completely avoidable, but cause the more pollutions in the environment than anything else. Reducing the number of blockages in our network is crucial for protecting our seas and rivers.


“We take every incident extremely seriously, and we have one goal – zero pollutions. We will innovate, collaborate and invest until we get there.”


Keeping sewers clear of blockages costs Anglian over £19million each year. The Keep it Clear campaign alongside encouraging customers to report pollutions when they see them features heavily in the company’s recently launched Pollution Incident Reduction Plan. Since its launch, the plan has already driven a 20% reduction in pollutions this year.


Naomi Wright, Campaign Coordinator, Unblocktober said, “We're delighted Anglian Water is supporting Unblocktober again this year - we need organisations with significant presence, and a long history in educating the public about what should and shouldn't go down the drain, to help amplify our message. 


"Unblocktober is all about turning awareness into action, so we hope that by partnering with the biggest organisations in the sector we can make long-term changes to habits that will protect the environment and our infrastructure for years to come."


To find out more about the work Anglian Water is doing through its Keep it Clear programme visit the website here.