Anglian Water has identified the parts of its region that account for the majority of sewer and pipe blockages, which cost the company £19 million each year to clear.

As part of Unblocktober, the company cleared and cleaned an entire length of sewer pipe in one part of its region and found more than four and a half tonnes of non-flushable items in it.

Anglian’s team cleared the 600 metre stretch of sewer pipes between its water recycling centre and approximately 150 local homes over 12 days and found fats, oils and greases as well as wet wipes and sanitary items among other unflushables.

The company said if this was extrapolated across its 76,000 kilometres of sewer networks, the items cleared would fill 50 large swimming pools.

The project was intended to help identify areas that contribute most seriously to the 40,000 blockages the company deals with annually.

Ben Hatfield-Wright, Anglian’s recycling networks efficiency manager, said: “Across the region, 12 of our 300 catchment areas account for around 80 per cent of our time, so it’s a problem area for us and this particular length of sewer in Canvey Island is one of them.”

The company has seen a 24 per cent reduction in blockages in the past 12 months thanks to a Keep it Clear programme informing customers how to dispose of fats, oils and other non-flushable items.

“The Flush to Treatment approach is targeting key areas we class as high-risk and can help us to give assurances that the network is working as it should and identify areas for future investment. We’re working closely with several different teams within the business to ensure that our approach is the most effective it can be,” Hatfield-Wright said.

Unblocktober runs for the month of October to encourage householders to dispose of non-flushables correctly to avoid pipe blockages and creating pollution.