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Let's be clear this unblocktober

A States Property Unit Spokesperson said: "Some of the items we remove from the public toilets absolutely beggars belief. In October alone some blockages have been the result of flushed clothing. These blockages render the toilets unusable, and means we have to spend time, effort and money clearing them. 

"States Property Unit are responsible for 23 sets of public toilets around the island, and not a week goes by someone doesn't end up blocking at least one." 

A Guernsey Water spokesperson said: "It is easy to think out of sight, out of mind, but nothing could be further from the truth. Once you put something down the drain that shouldn't be there, it doesn't disappear, or break down.  

"If you are lucky, it makes its way to our Belle Grave Wastewater centre, where it is screened out as part of the average 1.6 tonnes of waste removed, at a cost of £1,120.00, each week. If you are less lucky, you could create a blockage in your own drains, or in the main sewer network, where it has the potential to cause the back up of sewage into your home, sewer flooding and public disruption." 

The main culprit for causing blockages was an item many people think can be flushed - wipes. 

"Even wipes which claim to be flushable aren't. They go into the system and can accumulate to cause a blockage, one which is very difficult to clear." 

The utility advised that it isn't just incorrectly flushed items that can result in blockages, but incorrect disposal of fats, oils and greases down the drain too.  
Guernsey Water proactively cleans 35km of drains a year, but say that everyone has the power to prevent blockages, by not putting anything in the drains that doesn't belong there in the first place. 

"When enough people have the same mind set, we can find ourselves with a pump or sewer blockage on our hands.

"Let's be clear, blocked drains are a problem. Your problem and ours. In short, the advice is simple: only flush the three p's: poo, paper and pee. If in doubt, leave it out." 

The utility also provided the following advice on disposal of fats, oils and grease:  

  • Oil in small quantities: Wipe out pans with a small amount of kitchen paper and place in your black food waste caddy; a small amount of food contaminated kitchen paper is acceptable in your caddy. 
  • Roasting juices: Carefully pour these into a cup or pot, once solidified and cool, remove them from the pot or cup and place in your black food waste caddy. 
  • Other fats: This includes items such as butter, goose, or duck fat but no liquid oils or fats. Once cooled and solidified these should be placed in your black food waste caddy. 

Large quantities of vegetable oil, such as those from deep fat fryers, should be cooled and taken to the Longue Hougue Household Waste and Recycling Centre. For commercial quantities please contact Waste Oil Recycling on 01481 241133 to arrange collection for a small charge.

Guernsey Water's part in the campaign can be followed on their Facebook, twitter and Instagram pages. More information on the campaign is available

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