Yorkshire Water has turned to an ingenious new invention as it works to keep the sewers clear this Christmas.
In a bid to ensure that people’s Christmases aren’t spoiled by the reappearance of what went down the drain, the company is working with Wrexham-based Whirlwind Utilities to clean sewers with a high-pressured mix of air and water – the first time this technique has been used anywhere in the world – in readiness for the festive season.
The company says winter is the worst time of year for sewers being blocked by fats, oils and grease that people pour down the drain instead of putting in the bin.
In Yorkshire there were 22,000 blockages last year – nearly 6,000 of these over winter – which cost more than £8m to clear.
The amazing Whirlwind innovation clears blockages from sewers using a combination of air and water which is shot out of a high-pressured jet. The Whirlwind reduces the water needed to clean a kilometre of 150mm pipe by 95% - enough to provide a typical family of four with water for around 90 days.
Developed in partnership with Yorkshire Water the Whirlwind uses UK technology – the same as that which powered the JCB DieselMax to the land speed record this year – to create a high-powered mix of air and water which blasts blockages down pipes to free up the flow.
Ross Housley from Yorkshire Water urged customers to think twice about what they pour down the drain this winter. “Reducing the number of blockages in our sewers is a massive job and as well as asking our customers to do their bit by thinking carefully about what they are putting down their sinks and toilets.
“Over the next five years we’re investing £180 million to improve the quality of our sewer network, and when you have 20,000 miles of sewerage pipework to look after that takes away sewage from nearly 2 million homes, it’s no mean feat to keep things flowing.
“Our message is simple: anything other than human waste and loo roll has no business in our sewers and we’d ask people to do the right thing and make sure they dispose of their rubbish in the correct way, rather than risk blocking our sewers and potentially flooding their own homes with sewage.”
Yorkshire Water operates approximately 20,000 miles of sewerage network – enough to go around the earth nearly 1.5 times.
Between 2015 and 2020 it plans to invest £180m in improving the region’s sewage infrastructure, having spent £86 million between 2010 and 2015.
For more advice and freebies to help customers keep Yorkshire’s sewers clean, visit www.yorkshirewater.com/dirty