Borders families urged to bag it and bin it – and spare our sewers

by Scott Douglas

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Scottish Water Website

Scottish Water is urging residents in Cardrona Village to learn the lessons of last year and protect the beautiful Borders environment.

In March 2008, Scottish Water issued the Peeblesshire community the advice of their ‘Bag it and Bin it’ campaign, following a spate of chokes at the local waste water treatment works.

Residents were asked to make sure that they disposed of sanitary and personal items including nappies, old rags and cloths responsibly, with their household refuse, rather than flushing it down the toilet.

Scottish Water’s Regional Manager, Craig Lawson is asking customers for their support in protecting the local environment:

“The Borders is one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland and the Tweed is the lifeblood of the region. Scottish Water is playing its part to improve the quality of the river for every community along its beautiful banks. However, we need local people to play their part and help us protect the natural environment.

“Nappies, rags, sanitary towels and wipes can all cause chokes and blockages within the waste water network. This causes discharges, spoiling the environment for everyone. We need local people to play their part and Bag It and Bin It – Don’t Flush

It Scotland it is estimated that a shocking 340 million items of sanitary waste are flushed every year. Every year around £6 million is spent trying to fix these blockages and repair the damage.

Scottish Water has also found that 55 per cent of all sewer blockages are caused by people disposing of cooking fat down their sink. This also clogs sewers and pumping stations; leading to sewage overflows, potentially damaging the environment.

Bill Elliot, Regional Communities Manager for the Borders added:

“The waste water system simply isn’t designed to cope with these things, whether it’s fats and grease or blockages caused by sewer pipes and damage to screens at our treatment plants. This means waste can escape into rivers, not only risking public health, but also wildlife and the environment.

Editors Notes

Scottish Water is urging local residents across the Borders to avoid flushing unsuitable items down their toilet and drains, but to Bag It and Bin It instead.

What can be flushed

Human waste

Toilet paper (not too much and not the moist, extra strong type)

What shouldn’t be flushed but bagged and binned instead

Sanitary items:

Towels, tampons, applicators, panty liners, backing strips, disposable nappies and liners should not be flushed, but disposed of responsibly with household refuse. All wipes, including baby, bathroom and toilet; incontinence pads, condoms and femidoms, colostomy bags, bandages and plasters, should also be disposed of in this way.

Bin all of these:

Cotton buds, cotton wool, contact lenses and toothbrushes

Dangerous items:

Place razors and razor blades in a rigid container and put in the bin. Take syringes and needles to a needle bank (ask your GP for the location). Return medicines and contraceptives to your local pharmacy. When the label says ‘disposable’, it does not always mean it can be flushed down the toilet.

Fatty Facts

Here’s some fatty facts to provide food for thought:

  • fat blockages cause pollution, flooding, public health hazards and have major clean up costs.
  • Saturated fat causes the most problems. This is animal fat which goes hard when it cools.
  • Mono-unsaturated fats such as olive oil and rapeseed solidify when refrigerated so can caused problems in sewers in cold weather

Alternatively, families can feed the birds by collecting animal fats such as bacon grease and chicken fat to create fat cakes. The collected fat can be used to provide a tasty and nutritious treat for our feathered friends. 

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