Page last updated at 11:11 GMT, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 12:11 UK

Baby wipe 'beach ball' causes jam

Baby wipes
A build up of baby wipes caused a blockage

A beach ball-sized clump of discarded baby wipes jammed pumps serving a Highlands sewage plant, Scottish Water have said.

Carnac pumping station serves 9,000 properties on the west side of Inverness.

The blockage resulted in waste water - mostly rainwater - being discharged into the Moray Firth to prevent the system backing up and flooding streets.

Baby wipes do not break down like toilet paper.

Robert White, Scottish Water's operations manager for the Inverness area, said: "We'd really appreciate the public's help with this - after all, it is putting their properties and local environment at risk."

The pumping station at Carnac Point transfers on average 73 litres of waste water a second to the treatment works at Allanfearn on the other side of the city.

Scottish Water said if the pumps were jammed, the station was designed to disperse "screened" waste water - mostly rainwater - through an emergency pipe into the Moray Firth.

The alternative would be to allow the sewer system to back up, causing flooding in streets and homes.

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