THE scourge of formidable ‘fatbergs’ blocking Oxford’s sewer system is set to be tackled from today – by a new type of wet wipe.

Aiming to battle the build-up of the giant blobs of fat, oil and disposable wipes, the water industry has now launched a new Fine to Flush standard.

From today, Fine to Flush logos will appear on products which have passed rigorous scientific testing to show that they break up in the sewers.


Despite many wet wipes being labelled flushable, this is often not the case, so some people unwittingly put them in the toilet, leading to giant fatbergs developing underground.

These are expensive to clear and can have a devastating impact on the environment.

Oxford city centre experienced a huge fatberg under Park End Street in 2014 due to the build-up of cooking oil and wet wipes.

Read also: Key city street closed after fatberg causes sewer to partially collapse

From July 2017 to June 2018 there were 794 blockages in Oxford. Cherwell district came out on top in the county with 851 blockages.

Henry Badman from Thames Water said: “Each year we clear 75,000 blockages and wet wipes are a major contributing factor.

“The Fine to Flush standard is great news that will help consumers understand what can be flushed and what must be put in the bin. If there is no logo, then only the three ps should be put down the toilet – pee, poo and paper.”

Previous fatberg in Park End Street, Oxford.Previous fatberg in Park End Street, Oxford.

The flushable standard has been developed by industry body Water UK who has worked with Swindon-based independent scientific company, WRc.

If manufacturers pass the tests, the wipes will receive the ‘Fine to Flush’ symbol from WRc.

Many currently on the market also contain plastic to hold them together but those which meet the Fine to Flush standard must be plastic-free.

Water UK chief executive Michael Roberts said: “This is an important step in the battle against blockages. We’ve all seen the impact of fatbergs recently, and we want to see fewer of them.

“Improving the environment is at the core of what the water industry does, and the new Fine to Flush standard that we’ve created will make it easier for consumers to buy an environmentally-friendly product instead of one which clogs up drains and sewers.”

Within its 2020-25 business plan, Thames Water has committed to reducing the number of blockages it deals with every from 75,000 to 65,000.