10 things you should never flush down your toilet
Remember to avoid flushing any of these items, which have been fished out from under our streets:
1. Food fat
A serious problem, as it tends to bind around wet wipes and other detritus like clay around straw. “It slips down sinks very easily when it’s warm,” says Evans, “but once it hits our sewers it cools down and congeals into what we call fatbergs.”
Difficult to flush, but clearly many people manage it. Evans: “I’ve been down the sewers in central London and seen what appear to be fish on the surface. They’re actually condoms filled with air, bobbing around. It is pretty grim.”
Goldfish are most common, of course, but hamsters and gerbils are also seen. “They don’t help, because they’re quite sturdy little things.”
These are a rarity, because of the sheer difficulty of getting one round the U-bend to begin with, but the blockages they cause can be terrible.
5. Human body parts
These have been found by Thames Water “flushers”, as sewer operatives are known – most often fingers or even hands. In truth, the people sending them down toilets probably have bigger things than sewer abuse to worry about.
6. Cotton buds and tampons
They just won’t break down. It may take months or years for a fatty ball of them to accumulate, but in the end they do block drains, which then have to be unblocked by hand.
7. Half a Mini
Probably a one-off, this. “It was dragged out of one of our major London sewers. Pretty bizarre. Obviously that didn’t get flushed down the toilet.”
8. Paint and building waste
The viscosity of paint causes problems when it joins a fatberg. Bits of rubble are heavy enough to settle in bends, providing a base on which wet wipes and food can collect.
9. Drug paraphernalia
Syringes are the main problem, being very nasty and unhygienic.
A piece of bread won’t do any harm, but bones or even apple cores do cause trouble. Sweetcorn collects in large quantities in the sewers, as yellow as it was in the field.
To see the full story and for the source of this information see The Guardian:http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/shortcuts/2012/oct/26/10-things-you-should-never-flush?CMP=twt_gu
Sir Joseph William Bazalgette, born 1819 in Enfield, is perhaps most known and recognised for the construction of London’s sewer network, in the 19th century, in response to the Great Stink of 1858 and the persistent outbreaks of cholera across the city.
The Thames, at the time, was actually a major health hazard to the population of London; an open sewer. The idea was to create a series of underground tunnels which would intercept and divert outflows along with the raw sewage that, at that point, flowed freely through the streets of London towards the Thames.
A number of pumping stations and sewage treatment works, across the capital, would also be built to channel, receive and then treat this waste. The whole network was first opened in 1865, although the project was not actually finished until almost a decade later.
Bazalgette’s vision allowed, to an extent, for the major unforeseen population increase, taking into consideration the amount of waste produced by households, giving each Londoner an allowance, determining the size of pipe needed, then doubling it.
He has famously been quoted as saying ‘we’re only going to do this once and there’s always the unforeseen’.
Known for his determination and attention to detail Bazalgette made sure he personally checked every connection to the sewage system, which is perhaps why he suffered bad health and illness soon after.
His famous engineering work can be seen throughout London today, as he didn’t spend his whole career underground:
- Albert Embankment
- Victoria Embankment
- Chelsea Embankment
- Maidstone Bridge
- Albert Bridge
- Putney Bridge
- Hammersmith Bridge
- The Woolwich Free Ferry
- Battersea Bridge
- Charing Cross Road
- Garrick Street
- Northumberland Avenue
- Shaftesbury Avenue
For more information about Bazalgette watch this dedicated episode from a recent BBC docudrama series…
London’s sewer network originates from the Victorian era. Before the system was initially installed sewage was simply discharged into the River Thames which, believe it or not, was also the main source of drinking water for the capitals residents. Evidently this regularly created wide spread outbreaks of disease and combined with ‘The Great Stink’ of 1858, lead to the government’s plan to take action.
Works started in 1859 when Joseph Bazalgette, a top engineer, was drafted in to create the London sewer network. It was initially planned, when work commenced, to serve two and a half million people, but after completion it was already serving four million. Since this time widespread work has been carried out expanding the existing system for the ever increasing population, most recently the Thames Tideway Tunnel.
London is now Europe’s most densely populated metropolis, with the greatest level of growth and some of the oldest infrastructure. Today’s network now serves over 8 million people and it’s estimated that it could easily stretch the length of the earth. Here at Hydro Cleansing we offer clients a comprehensive service, helping to ensure that our sewer network is more than capable of handling everything that is thrown at it.
To find out more about Hydro Cleansing, what we do and the services we offer simply follow us on Twitter and/or like us on Facebook (click either icon below).