Coronavirus: Toilet roll alternatives blocking sewers

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Blocked sewerImage source, Northumbrian Water
Image caption,
Northumbrian Water said it had found wipes and newspaper blocking sewers

Toilet roll panic buying is leading to blocked sewers as people with no loo paper are forced to use alternatives, a water company has warned.

Northumbrian Water said householders were flushing wipes, kitchen roll and newspaper.

The company said it understood people were "only improvising" but the consequences could be "devastating" to homes and the environment.

Head of wastewater networks Simon Cyhanko said they should use the bin.

"We understand some people affected by the limited toilet roll availability may have no choice but to use alternative products," he said.

Image source, Northumbrian Water
Image caption,
The firm said blockages often happened inside the householder's property

"Blockages can have devastating consequences, from causing people's homes to be flooded with toilet waste to the environment being polluted."

A home flooded with sewage "isn't a pleasant experience at any time and especially now, if vulnerable people need to self-isolate because of Covid-19", he said.

Northumbrian Water found nearly two thirds of the 15,600 blockages cleared in 2019 were caused by wet wipes.

Blockages often happened inside householders' plumbing and sewer pipes rather than further down the system, the company said.

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