No service in the sewers for one unlucky Cheltenham mobile phone user

Friday 7th December 2018

Tennis balls, pants and car parts are just some of the unusual things Severn Trent has found in its sewers over the years but one team called in to work on a blockage had to phone home to share details of what was causing it.

In among the concrete-hard fat that had to be chipped away by hand to get the pipes unblocked, there was also a most unexpected mobile phone. 

Craig Bayliss, Waste Team Leader at Severn Trent, said: “We don’t know how the phone made its way into our sewers, whether it was somehow flushed away on purpose, dropped while using the loo, chucked down a highway drain, or an unfortunate casualty of yesterday’s phone problems but all we do know is that it caused our teams a bit of work trying to clear it.

“However, not all the blame can go to the phone. When we found it, it was pretty much encased in solid fat – which is another thing that causes headaches for us and, potentially, problems for our customers as a blocked sewer can lead to flooding in people’s homes which is just a terrible thing to happen.”

Severn Trent’s sewers are only designed to take the three Ps – paper, pee and poo. Anything else should be put in the bin, or in the case of an unwanted phone maybe recycled or even donated.

The company clears around 45,000 blockages each year across its region, with a staggering 70% caused by sewer misuse alone, so it is a problem that can be easily avoided by customers just thinking about what they should put down drains or flush away in toilets.

“It’s really important that everyone knows how to look after their sewers, especially this time of year where we’re doing more cooking than ever over Christmas,” adds Craig. “We want people to avoid the temptation of pouring used fats, oils and greases, and now phones, down the drain. We’d ask everyone to keep in mind the three Ps, as we’re sure you, and your neighbours, wouldn’t want the unexpected gift of a flooded home this Christmas.”

Find out more information about how to keep your sewer pipes flowing this Christmas at