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Water flushing

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Christmas presents aren’t for flushing

Children across the UK are eagerly waiting to find out what toys Santa will deliver this year – but did you know some toys end up down the U-Bend?

Wessex Water have discovered an incredible variety of much loved toys in their sewers, highlighting a real issue around what not to flush.

The water company has released images of toys they have fished out of their sewers, including minions, a rubber duck and a decapitated Buzz Lightyear. In their release, Wessex Water’s Divisional waste manager, Luke Beattie, said: “While many will see the funny side, there is a serious message here that items flushed down the loo can cause blockages and even internal sewage flooding.”

The water industry has worked this year to highlight the risks associated with flushing products not meant for our toilets, such as wet wipes – even those that claim to be ‘flushable’. Our sewers are meant for the three Ps only: pee, poo and paper – any other products can create costly issues.

In the UK alone, water companies estimate it costs around £90 million a year to unblock sewers. These figures do not include the human and environmental costs of sewer floods caused by such blockages.


The UK water industry has led an international policy statement outlining the industry’s current position regarding misleading ‘flushable’ labelled products. This has rapidly gathered global support, illustrating the importance of the issue.

On behalf of everyone at Water UK, we wish you a merry – and blockage free – Christmas.

Wessex Water press release

International flushability statement

Water UK Communications
0207 344 1805