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'Flushable' wet wipes cause 93% of UK sewer blockages

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

-  /  Sun, November 18, 2018  /  03:06 pm
'Flushable' wet wipes cause 93% of UK sewer blockages

Customers’ misunderstanding of the wipes’ inability to disintegrate cause wet wipes to be caught in filters and contribute to fatty buildups called fatbergs. (Shutterstock/File)

So-called flushable wet wipes have been found to be responsible for 93 percent of sewer blockages in the United Kingdom.

Wet wipes, used for a variety of things ranging from removing makeup to cleaning surfaces, failed the water industry’s disintegration test conducted by scientists at water-testing laboratory WRC in Swindon town, Southwest England. The test involves simulating the wet wipes going through the sewer, reported The Telegraph.

BBC Radio 4’s "Costing The Earth" claims that the experts found none of the so-called flushable wet wipes sold in the UK disintegrated enough to pass the test. Manufacturers use a more aggressive test that breaks the wipes up more quickly.

Customers’ misunderstanding of the wipes’ inability to disintegrate cause wet wipes to be caught in filters and contribute to fatty buildups called fatbergs. The fatbergs block sewage pipes and cost 100 million pounds (US$123 million) a year to remove, according to Water UK, the main water and sewer company trade body.

Read also: Pushing against closed doors: LGBT activists do battle over toilets

United Utilities’ Tony Griffiths told the BBC that the money spent on fixing the problem could be reallocated toward reducing customers' bills.

Some wet wipes did pass the test, but WRC said none of them were sold in the UK.

Wessex Water’s director Matt Wheeldon said flushable wipes were a “complete scourge on our society" and is calling for a ban on them. (iru/kes)