Severn Trent is showcasing the scale of sewer misuse across its region – with some rag skips at its treatment works (pictured) filled to the brim with items that shouldn’t be flushed.
The company said that in the last year alone it has been called out to thousands of blockages across the region – the majority of which were caused by people misusing the sewer system and flushing things like wet wipes. Blockages like these can lead to sewer flooding in people’s homes.
Grant Mitchell, Severn Trent FOG Strategy Lead, explains: “Wipes are one of the biggest problems causing sewer blockages – people flush them down the toilet and don’t think about the impact. Unlike toilet paper, wipes don’t break up or dissolve, so they easily get stuck in drains and sewers causing blockages. FOG (Fats, oils and greases) incorrectly poured down the sink can attach to wipes and cause fatbergs.
“The huge amount of rag in the skips, like the ones pictured, builds up weekly and are a consequence of people flushing the odd wipe down the toilet here and there, not realising the impact it can have. Blockages can cause sewage to back up into people’s homes, the street or even into the local environment and it’s totally avoidable.
“Our advice always is to stick to flushing the three P’s (pee, poo and toilet paper) and bin anything else. These relatively small changes will make a big difference and hopefully avoid any future blockages.”
People are responsible for the waste pipe running away from their home up until it either crosses the property boundary or meets with another waste pipe or sewer.
Grant added: “We often hear that people don’t realise they’re responsible for the waste pipe running away from their home - unblocking or repairing this section of pipe can be costly, which nobody wants right now. So this is another reason why it’s worth thinking about what you’re flushing down the toilet.
“If customers could spread these messages with their friends, family and neighbours it will help us tackle this problem much quicker and would mean fewer blockage nightmares.”
If customers do run into problems, either slow drains or a blocked sewer which is Severn Trent’s responsibility they can be reported at www.stwater.co.uk or by calling 0800 783 4444.