Sewer experts name Hastings ‘fatberg’ hotspot

Southern Water’s team of fatberg-busting sewer experts is to stage a fortnight of action in Hastings from Monday (April 26) to Friday, May 7.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 1:39 pm
Wet wipes found in a drain in Hastings last week. Picture from Southern Water SUS-210421-125349001

Sewer blockages caused by unflushables such as wet wipes, sanitary towels and nappies or incorrect disposal of cooking fat, oil or grease are a major cause of pollution incidents, the company said.

The TN34 3 area of East Hastings has been identified by Southern Water data scientists as a major hotspot for sewers bunged up with fatbergs and unflushable items.

Elvira Gabos, head of the unflushables team from Southern Water, said: “When people have the impact of sewer misuse explained to them, they are normally only too happy to change their behaviour.

“We’re sending a team of four to make more than a thousand visits in key streets next two weeks to warn property owners and business people they are playing ‘flushian roulette’ each time they put a wet wipe down their loo.”

Southern Water said in the past five years there have been 131 blockage incidents with 18 leading to internal flooding and 65 to external flooding.

Elvira added: “The misery for our customers and the impact on the environment from this level of incidents is simply unacceptable.

“We have jetted sewers in the area numerous times but the solution isn’t just sewer cleaning, it’s local action. People need to understand the consequences for the environment - and the risks to their own property.”

At the same time other teams are hunting down misconnections where toilets have been incorrectly plumbed into the drainage system leading to sewage spilling straight into rivers or the sea.

Rob Butson, misconnections manager for Southern Water, said: “Elvira’s team is doing vital work protecting the environment and people’s homes and businesses.

“They are focused on ensuring clean bathing water on beaches in the region. A single toilet wrongly connected can dump 23,725 litres of raw undiluted sewage into the environment every year.”