A series of brief encounters for Severn Trent workers

Wednesday 18th November

The Severn Trent team at Hayden Sewage Treatment Works in Cheltenham are starting to get quite a clothing collection after finding a third pair of pants in as many months.

The team’s latest discovery, a pair of Primark briefs, were accompanied by one odd sock and ended up in the sewers after being flushed down toilets, somewhere nearby.

Severn Trent’s sewer blockages lead, Grant Mitchell, said: “These items are an example of some the bizarre things we find in our sewers and treatment works that simply shouldn’t be there.“I don’t think I need to tell anyone that putting your underwear down the toilet is a bad idea, and whoever owns these items is lucky that they didn’t cause a blockage or flooding for them or their neighbours.

“Having sewage flooding inside your home due to sewers being blocked is one of the most horrible things that can happen to you, and we really don’t want our customers to suffer in this way, especially when it’s entirely preventable. The drains that take waste water away from your home are only a few inches wide and are only meant to take the 3Ps – pee, poo and paper.

While toilet roll breaks down when it gets wet, things like sanitary products, wipes, or in this case pants and socks, do not and can get stuck in smaller drains.

Severn Trent has found many unusual things in the sewers, none of which should be there. This includes false teeth, toys, tennis balls, cutlery and even a motorbike broken down in parts. 

Grant added: “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. Unblocking or repairing this section of pipe can be costly, but avoidable if you’re careful about what you put down your toilet or your sink.

So we recommend that you get yourself a bin in the bathroom and use that rather than the toilet.” If you do run into problems, either slow drains or a blocked sewer which is Severn Trent’s responsibility you can report it at or by calling 0800 783 4444.