Case studies

Keep It Clear is engaging with communities in a variety of ways.

The programme springs directly into action with a targeted campaign when there has been an issue, but also indirectly through sustained and supported interaction via a network of organisations.

St Lawrence Bay

Water Recycling Centre overwhelmed

The issue

A small water recycling centre at Stone, St Lawrence Bay, Essex, was not able to cope with the amount of wipes, other sanitary waste and FOG coming through which blocked the pumps in the pumping station and the surface aerators vital to the treatment process.


The intervention

The local treatment manager asked for help and Keep It Clear stepped in with various behavioural change approaches. These included contact with the parish council, articles in newsletters and attendance at the village fete with the Mad Science show. Liaison with nearby holiday parks resulted in the development of information storyboards displayed at local parks and parish noticeboard, a follow-up presentation to the council and continuing contact.


The result

There is an ongoing steady reduction in operational issues caused by unflushables at the treatment centre.

Mark Hunt, Treatment Manager

What’s important, going forward, is the relationship built up between ourselves and the local community. We look forward to continuing this collaboration and a continued positive impact on the local environment.


Pumping station problems

The issue

A startling 17 tonnes of wipes and other unflushable items – the equivalent of four adult elephants – were removed from the main pumping station in one year.


Ninety visits a year – around two a week – were made by Anglian Water crews to fix blocked pumps.


The intervention

In 2013, Keep It Clear started working in partnership with Cambourne Parish Council and a number of other organisations. This included maildrops, newsletters reminders, point of sale Do Not Flush signage on unflushable

wipes at the local Morrisons store, awareness in schools, and continuing support.


The result

Four years on, there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of callout requests to clear and fix blocked pumps – and a better environment for everyone. There are still occasional blockages in pipes – and around one a month at the main pumping station.


But, even though Cambourne’s population has boomed by another 2,000 residents, the quantity of wipes and unflushables pulled out has massively reduced by 90 per cent.

On the doorstep

In 2017, our reactive customer awareness included visiting customers in high-risk areas after repeat avoidable blockages. Starting in Peterborough, and working with community partners Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT), we visited over 2,000 properties, offering advice and capturing information on residents’ waste disposal habit.


Our door-to-door engagement continued in Milton Keynes, targeting two high-risk areas of most blocked streets. This approach is being extended to make sure Keep It Clear information is cascaded out effectively to help influence behaviour change. At the same time, it will help reduce blockages and pollutions and increase customer satisfaction in difficult to reach communities.


Before doorstep visit

  • 35% of residents were concerned about blockages in sewers


After doorstep visit

  • 60% of residents were concerned about blockages in sewers
  • Actual blockages down from 24 to 4 - an 84% reduction.