Were you in or around South Bank yesterday? You might've spotted the Thames Water marketing & digital teams by this unique piece of 3D art showcasing a fatberg! It's a part of our Bin It - don't block it campaign.
While it was cold and misty yesterday, everyone pulled together to educate the great British public all about fatbergs, what causes them and what we can do as a community to prevent them.
Take a look at our Facebook live video featuring Akhil and Henry, you'll really get to see the 3D perspective.
How can you help stop these digusting fatbergs blocking our sewers? Great question! Would you believe 4 in 10 consumers admitted flushing wipes, nappies and sanitary products?
There's no need to feel guilty (ok maybe a little bit) just kidding.
The first thing to remember is the three Ps, which are poop, pee and paper goes down the loo. Bin your wet wipes, nappies and sanitary products.
If you're aiming to be Britian's next top chef, when it comes to your cooking oils, don't pour them down the drain. Be a smart chef and store your oils in some sort of glass jar, when it's full - throw it away. You would be surprised these little things we do can make a huge difference to help prevent fatbergs in our sewers.
If you're into art or want to know the backstory of our "What Lies Beneath" 3D art piece, I interviewed Julian Fisher from Markettiers (our agency partner) partner about how they came up with this idea.
Oh... one more treat. Check out the behind the scenes video!
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How did Markettiers come up with this idea for “What Lies Beneath” for our Bin It campaign?
We were briefed by the Thames Water marketing team on a number of winter campaigns, we were asked to come up with three ideas to support them. This particular one was for the Bin It Don’t Block it campaign, we sat down and came with a creative, not just for a story that would get additional radio interviews, but also to get some television interest. We wanted to create a visual aspect to the story, hence creating this 3D piece of street art. It would act like a vocal point for TV cameras and photographers for print. It will also allow us to expand the coverage beyond the discussion point to be more mindful what we put down our sinks or flush down our loos.
Besides TV, photograph and print – do you think this piece has potential to go viral on Social?
Oh yes, because by doing this visual piece of street art, as you know social media is very visually driven. We’re actually filming the instillation, recording public reaction, so we can produce a one minute video we can send to websites. Hopefully it will attract people to share it across social to get the message out there to a much wider audience, than just conventional media.
What is the storyline behind this amazing piece of art?
Well we were lucky to find an artist, who was able to capture what we were trying to achieve. The storyline is about this hidden menace lurking under our streets, these giant fatbergs that people have seen from photos, but never from a 3D perspective. From above we walk across the streets every day, but we’re not really aware what goes on underneath them. Or the work Thames Water does to consciously try to reduce sewer blockages. Our brief to the artist was to peel back the streets of London, reveal the sewers below and in this case to show a sewer that’s blocked by an ugly fatberg.
"... I think part of our message is to really connect people with the images they’ve all seen online, television and in the papers. This helps them realise that these are caused by people simply not being mindful of what we do with our household waste..."
Before you got this brief, were you aware of the fatbergs lurking around in our sewers?
I think anybody who lives and works in London are aware of them, you couldn’t miss that giant one that was found a couple of years ago. If you see it once, you will never forget it. I think part of our message is to really connect people with the images they’ve all seen online, television and in the papers. This helps them realise that these are caused by people simply not being mindful of what we do with our household waste.
As time goes on, do you think 3D and augmented reality will play a larger role in marketing campaigns?
I think it’s an interesting new tool to add to marketing. There is a danger with every new technological innovation it detracts from the story. At the heart of every campaign, whether it’s marketing or public relations, there always needs to be a strong message. And then it’s all about bringing it to life with the right technology, like in this case it’s a 3D art piece. With others it might be virtual reality, but it needs to be appropriate with the campaign you’re trying to launch and the audience you would like to reach. It shouldn’t be the story; the technology should just help deliver the message.
During this particular brainstorm, besides the 3D art piece, did you come up with any other ideas?
Yes, because at the core of this story, what we were trying to do was establish, YES people are aware of fatbergs and YES people also know that it’s also caused by things that are flushed down the toilet. But they still end up doing it, so part of our story was to recommend a survey for the public in the Thames Water region. Which did what we expected it to do, that people were very aware of the problem, but I think four out of ten people admitted that even though they were aware of throwing the wrong things down the loo that causes fatbergs, they still do it because they either don’t know what to do with it or the message keeps coming through out of sight out of mind. So that was the other creative element, to get the public to tell us what we suspected. They know about the problem, they know they are contributing to it, but they are not actually changing habits and that helps us get our messaging across in all the supporting TV/Radio/Print interviews. We need the public to support Thames Water and change their habits to help reduce the problem.
What sort of reaction are you hoping to get for “What Lies Beneath” in South Bank?
I’m hoping for a mixture of amusement, a little bit of surprise, but hopefully if it helps one person or hundreds of people change their activity and habits, then I believe it’s done its job. We don’t want to shock people, but just remind people to be conscious of their actions.
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Remember our Wet Wipe Challenge in Reading? As you can see, wet wipes are not meant to go down the loo. Every hour we clear five blockages from our sewer network caused by wipes, while in an average year we clear around 85,000 blockages caused by wipes and cooking fat at a cost of around £12 million.
Blockages also build up in the pipes inside properties leaving you to shoulder the costs of removal and clean-ups. When it comes to flushing always remember the three Ps – poo, pee and paper.
Here are some top alternatives to wet wipes
Grab a stash of reusable cotton pads and use them with warm water and cleanser to remove make-up. To clean them, just throw them in the wash with your clothes.
Keep a damp towel close to the kids, they can use it for their mucky hands and you can use it to soak up spills
Use microfiber cloths with cleaning sprays to wipe sides, surfaces, bathrooms, and kitchens. They’re much tougher than wet wipes, so you can scrub even the most stubborn stains away.
Add cleansing foam to pre-moisten your toilet paper. It’s just as good as a wet wipe, but a million times better for the sewers.
Try switching to reusable baby wipes for the little ones. They’re super soft on faces, bums, and tums and they can be cleaned in the washing machine.
Fancy taking the Wet Wipe challenge? Here’s what you need.
Two water bottles
A couple of pieces of toilet paper
One wet wipe
Put the toilet paper in one bottle
Put the wet wipe in the other bottle
Give one of the bottles to your friend
Give the bottle a good shake
As you can see, the wet wipe is still in one piece. Just imagine what happens when you flush them down the loo. The evil creation of Fatty McFatberg begins, in order to stop Fatty McFatberg, put your wet wipes in the bin.
Bin it. Don’t block it.
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Did you know our Sewper Heroes clear over 75,000 blockages from our sewer each year? Most of them are caused by disgusting Fatbergs.
Our Sewper Heroes have seen and cleared all sorts of blockages (we will just leave that to your imagination).
Without our Sewper Heroes, London and Thames Valley sewers would struggle to cope with the increasing demand.
How would they describe their job? In five simple words: Dirty, interesting, important, challenging and rewarding.
What can you do to help our Sewper Heroes? Simply remember to only put the 3Ps (poop, pee and paper) down the toilet.
Help them keep our sewers flowing and care for the environment by not flushing wet wipes and oils down the loo and sink.
Visit our Bin it Page: Bin it. Don’t block it.
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You’ve probably seen #WhenNatureCalls trending across social media - any guesses what it’s all about?
Today is World Toilet Day (WTD) which is an official United Nations International day.
It’s to help inspire and raise awareness about the global sanitation crisis. Crazy to think, but it’s a scary statistic, 4.5 billion live without “safely managed sanitation” and around 892 million people practise open defecation.
The day itself was created by the World Toilet organisation in 2001, just 12 years later the UN General Assembly declared World Toilet Day an official UN Day in 2013.
Did you know…
More people in the world have phones than toilets
1/5 of schools worldwide have no toilet facilities at all
900 Million school children have nowhere to wash their hands
445 Million women and girls go to the toilet in the open
Thames Water along with our charity partner WaterAid share a vision of a world where everyone, everywhere has access to safe water and sanitation.
Since partnering up with WaterAid in 1981, our customers and employees have donated over £35 million, which continues to help WaterAid make our vision into a reality.
Between 2011 and 2015, we completed a four year bespoke project with WaterAid in Bangladesh; our customers, employees and partners raised over £2.14 million. This helped 43,000 people gain access to clean water and 46,000 people somewhere safe & clean to go to the toilet.
Now we’re working with WaterAid to help the people in Malawi. 1.7 million people don’t have access to clean water and more than 10 million people don’t have anywhere safe to go to the toilet.
One of our priorities for this project is to make sure the people of Malawi have access to safe water & sanitation.
We will be talking more about our work in Malawi in our future blogs so stay tuned!
*WTD facts provided by: worldtoiletday.info/wtd2018/
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This week, we've launched our yearly Winter Ready campaign. One thing we would like to bring to your attention is our priority services.
Do you have family members, friends or neighbours that may require some extra support?
We're here to offer help and assistance to our vulnerable customers during a water supply interruption. If a customer has one of the following needs, we could help.
Uses a home dialysis or other medical machines. Including those using additional water for medical condition.
Suffers from mental health issues.
Has restricted mobilitiy or uses a wheelchair.
Is deaf or hard of hearing.
Has dyslexia, difficulty reading or sight loss.
Please let us know how we can help you by taking our Priority Services Survey.
Learn more about our Priority Services
0800 009 3652 (Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm)
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Did you know our Save-a-Flush device could save you… £19* a year?
Did you know our Water-Efficient Showerhead could save you…£87* a year?
Did you know our Twin Tap inserts could save you…£37* a year?
We're all looking to save £££, especially with the holidays quickly approaching. We have a selection of FREE water saving devices! And that’s not all, we also offer free delivery and free returns.
Enter your postcode and start saving!
*All savings quoted above are based on a family of 4, combined metered water and energy savings using 2018/19 tariffs. Images for each product are provided for illustration purposes only. Actual product may vary.
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In late October, HRH The Princess Royal visited Abbey Mills Pumping Station to check out and learn more about the biggest expansion to London’s sewer network since Victorian times.
I rounded up some fun facts you might not know about Abbey Mills Pumping Station.
Abbey Mills Pumping Station is also known as “Cathedral of Sewage”
The architectural style is packed with different styles which include Italian Gothic, Russian Orthodox, Celtic and Byzantine.
In 2009, the station was used as a set for Coldplay’s “Lovers in Japan” music video.
In May 2018, the station celebrated its 150 year anniversary since it’s completion by the renowned engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette.
Are you a big Batman fan? B station represented Arkham Asylum in the 2005 movie film Batman Begins.
The C Station was used in Series 2 Episode 4 of the TV Series Primeva
On the 150 year anniversary, a time capsule was buried on the grounds, which contained: a high-vis jacket, a “fatberg” documentary on a USB stick and a bottle of local tap water.
Do you have any quirky facts about the Cathedral of Sewage? Let me know!
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Meet the Sibley family, they are getting their home Winter Ready, for the colder months ahead. Sometimes the unexpected happens, like a frozen pipe. Which can be quite annoying and not to mention a real inconvenience.
If you haven’t been able to fix your pipes, here’s a list of approved plumbers who might be able to help you.
Also don’t forget if you have cover with HomeServe and your pipes freeze and burst, Homeserve could save you costly bills.
If you think a pipe is frozen you should:
1. Turn OFF your water stop tap! Turn it clockwise to turn off the water (right for tight).
2. Turn ON all the cold taps in the house, this will allow the water to escape when it starts to thaw.
3. Remove items from around the frozen pipe. You can use a hot water bottle wrapped in a tea towel, pushed against the pipes to help try thaw the pipes out. Be sure to start from the end nearest the tap.
Alternatively, you can take a hair dryer and, starting at the end nearest the tap use it on the low setting to warm the frozen pipe. This may take a while but be sure to keep the hair dryer and any electrical items a safe distance from the defrosting pipe.
4. Once the pipes have thawed, double check there are no leaks before turning the water back on. You can do this by running dry kitchen paper towels along the pipe and checking to see if there are any wet patches on the kitchen paper when you’re done.
If there are wet patches on the kitchen paper towel, you may have a leak on your internal pipes. As the home owner you are responsible for getting these burst pipes fixed, so have the number of a certified plumber handy. Call them before turning your water back on.
If you're sure none of your pipes are leaking, turn your water back on at the stop tap by turning it anticlockwise (left for loose).
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Whether it's an annoying dripping sound or a burst pipe, or you need a new plumbing system installed - we got you covered.
We recommend you choose an approved plumber to ensure they are fit to work in your home. W e've pre-approved thousands of plumbers and underground workers across our region, to check they are qualified and have the knowledge required in water regulations.
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