Helen Morgan MP visits Severn Trent's treatment works in Oswestry

4th November 2022

Severn Trent has welcomed Helen Morgan, MP for North Shropshire, to its Oswestry sewage treatment works where she was able to learn first-hand how local teams are combating sewer misuse and helping to keep rivers healthy.  

Ongoing investment works at the Oswestry site, which will support growth in the town were discussed.  This includes a new ASP (activated sludge plant) being installed, with work due to be finished in the next 18 months.

The visit included a 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.  How Severn Trent works with others in the area was also discussed, including financial support packages available for farmers.

Helen Morgan, MP for North Shropshire, commented: “All of the water that comes from houses, businesses and storm drains in and around Oswestry ends up at this waste water plant.

“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.

“Too much sewage has been poured into rivers and seas across the UK – and Liberal Democrats have led calls for water companies to use their profits to improve their systems and protect our waterways so it was good to see first-hand the work Severn Trent is taking through their River Pledges.

“However we can all do our part by not flushing non-biodegradable items down the toilet. 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.”

Len Ring, Waste water Manager for Shropshire from Severn Trent, who hosted the visit, said:“It was a pleasure to host Helen, 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 systems can be put under due to improper disposal of things like wet wipes, which can cause real issues, 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.