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News Centre > Thursday 30 September 2021

700 days later: Guernsey Water wipe experiment reveals dramatic result

700 days later

Guernsey Water has highlighted the significant impact wipes can have on the Island's drainage system with a simple experiment which began in October 2019.

The utility company has shared the results of an experiment where various wipes were submerged in jars of water in order to demonstrate just how long it can take for products to break down.

A baby wipe was shown to still be fully intact, despite being submerged for approximately 700 days. Even more concerning was the remaining substance of a 'flushable' wipe, which showed only minimal signs of degrading over the same time period.

Jon Holt, Guernsey Water's Operations Manager said: "Given the fact that a typical flush in Guernsey will reach a pump within one hour, the risk of potential damage and blockages as a result of flushing wipes is very clear.

"Last year we dealt with approximately 57 pump blockages, the majority of which were a direct result of the flushing of wipes. Blockages aren't just an issue we have to deal with, they can result in sewer flooding, environmental damage and even the back-up of sewage into properties."

The utility advised that approximately 2 tonnes of non-biodegradable material is removed from Belle Greve wastewater centre every week at a cost of £615.00 per tonne.

Mr Holt continued: "By taking the simple steps to flush responsibly, only flushing pee, poo and (toilet) paper, we can all help to prevent pump and sewer blockages on island."

To learn more, or to conduct a similar experiment at home, please visit:

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