Block shock for Severn Trent customers in Unblocktober

We are again supporting the ‘Unblocktober’ campaign to raise awareness of the thousands of sewer blockages across the region each year.

Grant Mitchell, Sewer Blockages lead said: “Sewer Blockages are a huge issue for us in the Midlands.  We clear tens of thousands of blockages a year, of which three quarters are caused by people flushing the wrong things into the sewer system.

“Wipes are great for lots of things, but one thing they’re really not good for is our sewer pipes. Blockages could easily be prevented if people just simply binned their wipes and sanitary products, instead of flushing them down the loo. A blockage can easily cause sewer flooding for homes, businesses and the local environment, which would be awful for anyone to have to experience, but totally avoidable.”

“Blockages are the result of everyone flushing just one wipe here and there, or washing the odd bit of fat down the sink with hot soapy water, and not realising that it’s all collecting in the pipe and creating a big problem.

“Sewers are only designed to cope with toilet paper and human waste.  So some of the things people throw down the toilet, like sanitary products or nappies, can easily snag on the inside of a pipe and block it.  And, because some of the sewer pipes are only a few inches wide, any fats or oils you throw down your sink can build up on the inside of it, clogging it up – even if you rinse it off with boiling water.

“Then, when a sewer is blocked the waste has to go somewhere.   This means it usually comes out of a drain and can flood roads, or even properties with sewage.  And, during wet weather – as we’ve been seeing recently – it’s even more likely.  As well as being extremely unpleasant for our customers, it also ends up costing money to unblock, which is money we can’t reinvest elsewhere. 

It’s really easy to avoid blockages, and prevent issues for you and your neighbours - make sure all wipes, kitchen roll, cotton buds and other sanitary products go straight into the bin, not down the toilet, and that all leftover fat, oil and grease is collected and put in the bin rather than the sink.  That’s going to help everyone.”