War on wipes: Sewage firms demand action over blockage-causing 'flushable' wipes

  • Video report by ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi

Some of the biggest toiletry brands are targets for a new attack on big-selling products.

Sales of wipes are booming and they are often marketed as "flushable", but today 12 of the UK's water and sewage companies have called on Trading Standards to take action.

It's claimed that wipes are getting stuck in drains, causing floods, blockages and disruption.

Today I have been out with Ben Lee, a sewage engineer from Wessex Water.

Sewage engineer Ben Lee said he frequently deals with call outs over blockages caused by wipes.

Each call-out we attended involved blockages which were in his view caused by wipes.

That's not surprising. The industry estimates that two thirds of such drainage problems are now caused by the wipes.

The sewage industry estimates two thirds of domestic drainage problems are now caused by the wipes. Credit: ITV News

One water company alone says the majority of 80,000 blockages last year were due to wipes.

Water companies are being supported by environmental groups and even by central government.

They want all wipes to be clearly labelled "do not flush" and they certainly want an end to all marketing of "flushable" wipes.

The industry says it has its own standards and tests that ensure that products sold as "flushable" truly are.

It disputes the claims of such widespread blockages.