Blundering DIY enthusiasts are blocking Yorkshire's sewers with concrete and paint

Yorkshire Water have reminded DIY enthusiasts that they cannot flush concrete and paint into the sewage system after a spate of pipe blockages during the lockdown.

A concrete blockage in Leeds

The water company believes the rise in home disposal of building materials is linked to the closure of council-owned tips and waste facilities during the coronavirus crisis.

As a result, there has been a huge increase in Google searches by internet users asking how to get rid of unwanted concrete.

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This April, Yorkshire Water engineers have been called out to several large blockages in the sewers caused by unsuitable materials being flushed down toilets.

A blockage in the sewers on the Broadway in Barnsley

One incident in Leeds was caused due to a large build-up of concrete in the pipe. After numerous attempts to remove it with high-pressure water jetting, Yorkshire Water are now faced with having to excavate the sewer to a depth of three metres at a cost of over £25,000.

Another blockage in Wakefield was caused by a flushed tape measure and a concrete blockage near the Broadway in Barnsley was so large it had to be removed by specialist machinery.

Yorkshire Water’s staff are classed as key workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, as they work around the clock to maintain the water and sewerage networks. The company has increased staff use of PPE and educated all key workers on social distancing regulations. However, there is still concern that these preventable incidents are resulting in unnecessary exposure for the public and staff members.

Head of customer field services Mark Hammond said: “A lot of people are carrying out home improvement projects and looking for ways in which they can keep busy at home. With the usual disposal options difficult to access, a number of people have turned to our water and sewage system to get rid of their excess DIY materials, resulting in blockages and avoidable issues for our engineering team.

"I’d like to remind everyone to only flush the three Ps: pee, poo and (toilet) paper.”

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