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Thames customers report thousands of blockages via online tool

Thousands of sewer blockages have been reported by customers of Thames Water using a new online tool, which the company launched in October.

Report a Blockage Online (RABO) allows residents to alert the water company to suspected blockages using an online form. It has been used to report 6,800 blockages, with 2,100 raised in February alone.

Once reported, the block is investigated by engineers to clear obstructions as necessary.

The tool was developed by the company’s operational service centre with the digital and website teams as part of efforts to use digital tools to monitor the sewer network.

Matt Rimmer, Thames’ head of waste networks, said: “Thanks to the hard work and vision of our digital and operational teams, we have another important weapon in our armoury as we battle against sewer blockages and fatbergs and I hope it can become even more successful in preventing pollution incidents in the future.

The company spends an average of £18 million clearing blockages from its sewers every year caused by fats, grease and un-flushables that can cause sewage to back up and flood homes, businesses and the environment.

Last year the company shifted nearly 700 tonnes of wipes when it cleaned more than 900 km of its sewers, up 50 per cent from the previous year and shifted the debris that had formed into not only fatbergs but concretebergs.