Southern Water is investing almost £1.5 million to improve the treatment processes at its Aylesford Wastewater Treatment Works.
The works, in Bull Lane, serves more than 100,000 people in the area, but an influx of wet wipes and other non-biodegradable items such as sanitary products is causing blockages.
Along with solidified cooking oils, wet wipes contribute to about three quarters of all sewer blockages. These can cause toilets, sinks and baths to overflow inside homes, costing families hundreds of pounds to clear or environmental pollutions if sewers flood outside.
At the treatment works, the wet wipes can block pipes and pumps. To combat this, the two screens, which remove such items, are being replaced and a third is being installed. Pipework on the site is also being upgraded.
The work is being carried out by supplier Morrison Utility Services and is due to complete in July, 2014.
Lee Colvin, Southern Water Project Manager, explains: “While the new screens at Aylesford will be better at removing wet wipes and other items, prevention is better than cure so we ask customers to help us by only flushing the three Ps – pee, poo and paper. Everything else should be put in the bin.
“This simple message is the focus of Southern Water’s Pain in the Drain campaign which aims to educate people about the causes of blockages and ask for their help in avoiding them.”