Severn Trent is showcasing the amount of wipes and other unflushables that end up at its sewage treatment works in Nottinghamshire.
Every week, around two and a half tones of wipes and other items which shouldn’t be flushed are pulled out of our sewers – about the same weight as a Range Rover.
If they manage to reach the sewage treatment works without causing a blockage in the network, they are removed through a screening process end up in the rag skip, like the one pictured at Severn Trent’s Retford site in Nottinghamshire.
Grant Mitchell, from Severn Trent, said: “Unflushables such as wet wipes cause huge problems on our network – they don’t break up and dissolve the same way toilet paper does.
“They can attach to other items which are incorrectly flushed down the toilet, such as sanitary products and nappies, as well as fats oils and greases that have incorrectly been poured down the drain, and quickly cause a blockage.
“These full skips are the result of everyone flushing just one wipe here and there, and not realising the impact that it’s having.
“Our advice 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.”
The average home sewer pipe is c.150mm in diameter – the same as a new roll of toilet paper, so it doesn’t take much for a blockage to form and cause sewage back up into people’s homes, the street or even into the local environment.
“Many customers may not realise that they 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.
“It doesn’t take much to cause a blockage and unblocking or repairing this section of pipe can be costly, but it’s completely avoidable if you’re careful about what you put down your toilet and bin any unflushables.”