By Herbert Soden, Local Democracy Reporter

Panic buying toilet roll is causing the sewerage system to become blocked up with disgusting results, warns a water company.

Northumbrian Water is tackling the increasing number of sewers clogged up by flushed toilet roll alternatives.

The North East firm says that people affected by toilet paper vanishing flying off the shelves as a result of pandemic panic buying are  “only improvising” by using a range of alternatives such as wipes, kitchen roll and newspapers.

However, it warns of the devastating consequences that wrongful flushing can have on the environment and to customer homes.

According to the company wrongly flushed items, such as wet wipes, are one of the biggest causes of blockages as they usually clog up inside householders’ plumbing and sewer pipes.
Simon Cyhanko, Head of Wastewater said: “Wet wipes and toilet roll alternatives, including kitchen roll and newspapers, are the main causes of blockages in our network.

“We understand some people affected by the limited toilet roll availability may have no choice but to use alternative products, but we really need our customers’ help by making one small change – and that’s to put wipes and any alternatives in the bin.

“Blockages can have devastating consequences, from causing people’s homes to be flooded with toilet waste to the environment being polluted, but by binning the wipe and toilet roll alternatives you can help make a massive difference.

“No one wants to see harm to the environment and to innocent wildlife, or homes flooded with sewage, which isn’t a pleasant experience at any time and especially now, if vulnerable people need to self-isolate because of Covid-19.

“Wipes and alternatives, may leave your toilet bowl when flushed, but can clog up your plumbing and cause avoidable plumber call out charges. Even biodegradable products often don’t break down as quickly as toilet paper and can linger in sewer pipes, contributing to blockages.

“If customers are going to use any sort of wipe or toilet roll alternative, then please bin them. Toilets are not a bin.”