Monday, 30 November 2015

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Nappies and chip-pan fat blamed for sewage flooding in Cumbrian village

Nappies and chip-pan fat have been blamed for blocking sewers which led to raw sewage flooding onto the streets of a village during a heavy downpour.

Arlecdon sewer photo
Resident Graeme Gilpin tries to stop the flow

An investigation has revealed that the sewage flowed onto the streets of Arlecdon, near Frizington, because villagers put items they shouldn’t have down toilets and kitchen sinks.

Residents described the scenes as “horrendous” when a drain overflowed following torrential rain on Tuesday morning. Many stayed inside their homes and closed their windows to block out the stench caused by the sewage.

Engineers spent several hours cleaning up the mess and unblocking the drains.

Solidified cooking fat, nappies, baby wipes, sanitary towels and cotton buds had blocked the village’s main sewer, which resulted in it overflowing.

The wastewater company is now appealing to people to stop flushing these items away.

Arlecdon residents have spoken of their shock at the findings.

Carol Gilpin, who lives by the drain on Arlecdon Road, said: “I just assumed it was because of the amount of rain water.”

Her mother-in-law Muriel Gilpin, who owns the village post office, said: “It is a shock and I think it’s mindless that people are doing it.

“I know it’s difficult to get rid of waste these days – especially nappies – as we only get two blue bags (which the council collects) but they shouldn’t be getting flushed away.”

However, Mrs Gilpin said that the wastewater company is also to blame, as they should make more of an effort educating people.

“They should put notes through people’s doors,” she said.

Cheryl Corlett, who has two young children in nappies, said she wouldn’t dream of flushing anything other than toilet roll away.

“I think it’s disgusting that it happens,” she said. “I’m 24 and I’ve never heard of that happening.”

However, Ms Corlett said that she had doubts it was the sole reason for the drain overflowing.

United Utilities wastewater network manager for Cumbria Andrew Jefferson said that what happened at Arlecdon was not “unusual”. He said that when fat and other items combine in a pipe they become like concrete, blocking the sewer.

“Sewer flooding is a horrible experience and when it happens our engineers work flat out to respond to every single call,” he added.

“We appreciate that people often don’t realise their actions make a difference and that there are things we can all do to reduce the risk.”

Have your say

Bill - the chip fat turnes into a stiff congealed gunge and partially blocks pipes, do a google image search for sewer grease and you'll see what happens. Its far from an excuse...

Posted by alan on 1 August 2013 at 11:05

chip fat builds up in the pipes and partly blocks them when you get extremely heavy rain the pipes cant cope and they back up, as for not being any nappies in the pipes can't say but people flush all kinds down the toilet and the drains

Posted by albert on 31 July 2013 at 12:46

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