One of the UK’s biggest water companies has issued a warning about cat litter, saying that it should never be flushed down the toilet as it can pose a serious health risk and cause blockages within the infrastructure.
Anglian Water, which has the largest operating area of any water company in of England and Wales and treats used water from over six million people, says that water treatment processes are unable to eliminate certain types of dangerous bacteria that can be found in animal faeces.
Collette Parker, Anglian Water customer engagement manager, said: “This kind of animal waste should never be flushed down the loo. Although rare, dog and cat poo can carry toxocara, which is one of the very few bacteria that we are unable to eliminate in our water treatment processes. Flushing cat litter down the loo can also lead to blockages in our sewer network, putting the region’s much-loved environment at risk.”
She continued: “Sewers are designed to carry the three Ps – Pee, Poo and Paper (toilet paper) only. Cat litter and animal faeces should either be composted where possible or bagged and placed in the bin for collection by local authorities’ domestic refuse collection service.
“With the increasing impacts of climate change resulting in more intense storms and torrential rainfall, it’s more important than ever before that we keep our sewer pipes as clear as possible to help protect the environment”.
Tailor-Grace, supplier of sustainable cat litter brand Huskaloo, endorsed the ‘compost, do not flush’ message.
Director Tracey Voss said: “Here at Huskaloo we recognise the ecological problems that the cat litter category has represented for many years. Our mission to ‘Save the planet one cat at a time’ encompasses all aspects of the environmental impact of cat litter, from carbon footprint to safe disposal.
“With the increasing pressures on our water systems and any potential impact on marine life the concept of ‘compost do not flush’ underpins our ethos and we hope will be adopted by all manufacturers in this category.”
Blocked pipes are one of the most common causes of river pollution and flooding. Anglian Water clears over 40,000 blockages every year caused by wrongly flushed items or the build-up of fats, oils and greases.
The company’s Keep It Clear programme shares information and advice to help inform customers of what can and can’t be flushed, and recommends that items such as wipes, sanitary items and cat litter should never be disposed of in the toilet.