“When we started in 1999 we were one of only three companies of this type. Now there are 25 in this province but we have even more work than we did then, mainly because people's pipes keep getting blocked by wet wipes.”
Enrique Godoy, the head of Desatoros Malaga, describes perfectly the situation caused by people throwing wet wipes down the lavatory: plenty of work for the drain-cleaning companies, but a major headache for sewage companies.
“The problem, apart from them not decomposing, is that they don't pass smoothly down the pipe. They get stuck and accumulate, and gradually they form a blockage,” says Enrique.
Despite the fact that his company benefits financially from all this work, he insists that they always tell people to throw wet wipes into the rubbish bin, not down the toilet. “Obviously it would be good for us if they threw even more away like that, but we honestly tell them not to do it. When we are called out by a community of owners we always explain the problems that wet wipes cause and we even put up posters, but within two or three months the pipes are full again,” he says.
Ana Núñez, of Desatoros Pepe Núñez, agrees. “Even though there has been more information in recent years and the wet wipes they make nowadays do decompose better, the truth is that most of our work is unclogging the drains of apartment blocks precisely because of this problem,” she says.