03 November 2023


A car tyre, a scooter, sex toys and sheets of counterfeit money were just some of the unusual items found by Anglian Water in the East of England’s sewer network this year

While the flushing of wet wipes and sanitary products are still the biggest causes of preventable blockages that can result in flooding of homes and the environment, the water company’s sewer maintenance teams regularly come across things that leave them bewildered.

Other strange items found in the network this year included building equipment, a television and a full set of pristine car mats.

Anglian Water engineers have cleared around 40,000 preventable blockages from the region's sewer network in the last 12 months costing the company around £19million.

Regan Harris from Anglian Water said: “Our teams work hard to find and fix blockages on our sewer network each and every day. We have enough sewer pipe in our region to go around the world twice, meaning our engineers remove an avoidable blockage nearly every five minutes in a bid to keep our sewers flowing, protecting the environment and our customers’ homes from flooding.

“Wet wipes cause real problems in our network. These blockages lead to around eighty per cent of flooding and pollution incidents in our region yet are completely preventable.”

Research by Water UK has found that non-flushable wet wipes make up around 75% of sewer blockages - these wipes are not designed to be flushed.

Regan added: “Although some of the things we find down the sewer can be comical, this is the reality of what our teams face every day, and it’s putting our beloved environment and homes at unnecessary risk. That’s why we urge everyone to not put anything down the toilet other than pee, poo and (toilet) paper. You wouldn’t use your bin as a toilet, so please don’t use your toilet as a bin.”