The ‘Keep it Clear’ campaign was set up to tackle the number of sewer blockages caused by fats, oils and grease (FOG) in a pilot scheme in the city’s Central Ward, an area responsible for almost two thirds of the city’s blockages.

It also follows the transfer of sewer ownership from homeowners to water companies in England and Wales which came into force on October 1, increasing Anglian Water’s sewer network by 13,000 miles and almost doubling the number of blockages it has to deal with – a problem that costs the company about £7m a year.

According to Anglian Water, just 12 weeks into the initiative the number of sewer blockages fell from three a week to just one, as households took action to limit the amount of FOG and sanitary waste they dispose of into the sewer after the company asked them to “think twice” before flushing items down the toilet or sink.

In addition, pubs, restaurants and catering businesses were also asked to get on board and were provided with ‘how to’ packs, which included posters, stickers and information on the safe disposal of cooking waste.

To mark its success the water company premiered a short film in Peterborough city centre last week (October 13) on the side of the Guildhall in Cathedral Square to illustrate how sewers can become blocked with FOGs and sanitary waste.

Anglian Water director of wastewater Paul Gibbs, said: “We are really pleased because this was a new approach for us; getting out into communities and taking the message directly to the people who can help us solve the problem – our customers.

“The problem of fats and what we call unflushables in the system is already huge with thousands of blockages a year across the Anglian Water region.

“This campaign was about getting everyone to understand we all share a responsibility to keep the sewers flowing and protect ourselves and our neighbours from the misery of sewer flooding. We could also be making sure any future bill increases are as low as possible.”

Anglian Water said it now plans to roll the campaign out to other trouble spots throughout the region.

Carys Matthews

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