Harriett Baldwin MP visits Severn Trent's treatment works in Worcestershire

Friday 21 October 2022

Severn Trent has welcomed Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, to Pershore sewage treatment works where she was able to learn first-hand how Severn Trent's teams are combating sewer misuse and helping to keep rivers healthy.  

The visit included discussion around the steps that Severn Trent is taking to continue to improve the health of the region’s rivers, including its Get River Positive campaign. The team also provided an overview of the proactive work that they’ve been undertaking to prevent sewer blockages, which can cause river pollution.  

Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, commented: “All the water that comes from the houses and storm drains in and around Pershore ends up at the waste water plant on the outskirts of the town.

“Having seen the process in action, I was amazed at the sheer volume of material that has to be filtered out with wet wipes being by far the biggest nuisance.

“It was clear to me that we need to do much more to encourage people not to flush these items and other non-biodegradable items down the loo. They risk blocking up your own pipework, and they cause serious risk of blockages throughout the waste water network.

“We often take our water for granted so it was very useful to see the treatment process which turns dirty water into clean water ready for the river.

“It is a complex, energy intensive process, but when you look on your water bill some of the charge is helping to support the complicated treatment system that guarantees safe, clean water for us every day.”

Mathew Acton from Severn Trent, who hosted the visit, said: “It was a pleasure to host this visit, as opportunities like this play an important part in helping our communities to understand how the network operates. It’s helpful for MPs to see first-hand the kind of pressures that they can be put under due to improper disposal of things like wet wipes, which can cause real issues in the system, as well as the steps we’re taking to make our region’s rivers the healthiest they can be. 

“We always ask our customers to help prevent pipe blockages at home and protect the environment by not flushing wet wipes, or pouring fats, oils or grease down the drain as they can lead to environmental pollution.” 

Get River Positive was launched in March 2022 to provide a clear and actionable response to calls for a revival of rivers in England. Severn Trent is moving faster, in some cases 20 years ahead of sector targets, to improve the quality of the region’s rivers. 

The company has committed that its operations will not be the reason for any stretch of river in the whole Severn Trent region to be classified as unhealthy by 2030. According to Environment Agency data, Severn Trent is currently responsible for 18% of reasons for rivers in its region not achieving good ecological status and is confident that by December this year, this will reduce to 15%, with the remaining 85% of reasons attributed to other sectors.