15 Things You Should Not Be Flushing Down the Toilet or Pouring Down the Sink

  • Published on 7th April 2020
  • /
  • Category Community news

The items being flushed down household toilets and poured into sinks at Great Western Park is causing the drainage systems to stop working

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak many people started to panic buy and stock pile household items such as toilet roll. This resulted in many of us having to purchase whatever alternative we could get. Having been in the same situation recently ourselves, we fully understand and appreciate that adaptation through these times has simply been very tough. I'm sure even more so for those of us with young families to take care of and educate. We must stop flushing away the toilet paper alternatives immediately though and 'Bag It, Bin it' instead as pert the advice above and below from the national water solutions company, Xylem. 

The results of non-flushable items and temporary toilet paper alternatives being flushed away into the Great Western Park drainage network is causing the system to stop working. We need your help to prevent potential breaches of toilet and sink waste water into the roads and your homes.   

Information about the consequence of putting non-flushable items down the toilet. Instead you should 'Bag It, Bin It'

In the last 3 weeks the pump station that serves the vast majority of the Great Western Park Development has failed multiple times. We have had to have emergency tankers on site 4 times to pump out and clear the system of debris that it isn't designed to deal with but has been flushed there from Great Western Park homes. Three days after being cleared it is blocking up again and requires repeat attention. Below are images of the pumps just 3 days after being cleared. When they become clogged like this they stop running because they cannot move. As a result the drainage system stops flowing and whilst everyone is at home all day and using their toilets/sinks, the drainage system very quickly fills up. If the drainage pipes in the roads get full (which they have been), the contents will start to back up into peoples homes and spill up into the roads. 

We have been able to manage the situation so far but the results of this happening continuously means we now have a few thousand pounds worth of damage to repair on the pumps in our Pumping Station. Currently we are unable to have 1 out of 3 of the pumps running at all until the repairs are complete. 

We need to work together to stop further damage to that significant part of our community that normally works without us having to think about it. 

Another of the pumps also blocked up and damaged due to the volume of non-flushable items

This is one of the 3 pumps at Great Western Park last week blocked up with wet wipes / flushable wipes

Thankfully, the supermarket supplys are beginning to get back to normal again and toilet paper is readily available on the shelves in most locations. Hopefully this will help us to reduce the damage being caused but it won't prevent it. Here is a list of things that we should never flush down our toilet (even when we're not in lockdown):

15 Things You Should Never Flush Down the Toilet or Sink:

  1. Baby Wipes or ‘flushable’ toilet wipes (they are not truly flushable no matter what the packet says. They do not breakdown at all before reaching pump stations and are the main culprit for pumps becoming blocked and stopping).
  2. Paper towels, kitchen towel or tissues
  3. Cotton pads or buds
  4. Tampons or sanitary towels
  5. Condoms
  6. Nappies
  7. Dental Floss
  8. Medication
  9. Kitty Litter
  10. Hair
  11. Chewing gum
  12. Cooking grease or oil
  13. Food
  14. Fish
  15. Cigarette Butts

All of these things should be placed in the appropriate bins instead. We urge all residents to think about what they are flushing and pouring away. 


There's lots more information available on the likes of Xylem, Leep Utilities and Thames Water's websites about the impacts of how we treat out drainage networks. Many water companies have been campaigning for a number of years now as the problems continue to escalate across the country. We all have to take responsibility for our actions and prevent environmental damage that can so easily be caused due to blocked drainage pipes. 

We look forward to get backing to normal alongside you all in the Great Western Park community very soon (we hope!)