A Northumbrian Water employee has created an innovative tool to track down wet wipe offenders and help win the war against sewer blockages.
The innovative tool was named today as Barbarian. The name was chosen by one of Northumbrian Water's real life sewer heroes, following dozens of suggestions from customers across the region.
The spiky circular device, weighing two pounds and resembling a crown, is the latest addition to Northumbrian Water's growing family of innovative blockage busting tools.
The North East water company is continuing to battle an increasing number of avoidable blockages and is warning customers of the devastating impacts that wrongful flushing can have, when toilets are used as a bin.
Sewer gadget inventor, Steve Green, who works as a Sewerage Maintenance Operative at Northumbrian Water, said: "This latest device will help us in the battle against sewer blockages caused by wet wipes, and adds to the range of blockage tackling tools we already have.
"The Barbarian is our heaviest tool and will be used in faster flowing sewers to help us pin-point anyone wrongfully flushing wipes.
"We will continue to work with customers and educate them on the heart-breaking consequences wipes can have when flushed, from causing people's homes to be flooded with toilet waste to the environment being polluted.
"Wet wipes may leave your toilet bowl when flushed but can clog up your plumbing and cause avoidable plumber callout charges. Even biodegradable products often don't break down as quickly as toilet paper and can linger in sewer pipes, contributing to blockages.
"If customers are going to opt for using wipes - over a range of natural reusable alternatives available in most supermarkets and high street retailers, which are often much cheaper than buying single-use products - then please make one simple change. That change is to bin the wipe and not to use toilets as a bin."
Northumbrian Water's ‘Bin the Wipe' campaign is encouraging customers not to use their toilets as a bin, after finding around 64% of the 15,600 blockages cleared in 2019 were caused by wet wipes.