Severn Trent gets to the bottom of a brief problem in Derby

Wednesday 17th January 2018

It was a pants day in Derby for Severn Trent when a team was called out to investigate what was causing a problem at a sewage pumping station.

The pumps at Breadsall were not working properly and, while the team investigating the issue found a large quantity of liquid fats and oils there, the actual problem was being caused by a pair of men’s undies.

Chris Giles, head of network operations at Severn Trent, said: “Now we don’t know if someone got pants for Christmas and didn’t like them and decided to flush them down the toilet, but one thing we do know is that they shouldn’t be in the sewers.

“Our sewers are only designed for paper, pee or poo – not for anything else, like sanitary products, wipes and especially underwear. Men’s undercrackers really shouldn’t be turning up in our sewers and creating problems like this.”

It’s not the first time that Severn Trent has fished unexpected items out of its sewers, having previously found tennis balls, women’s underwear and even motorcycle parts in the past.

“We’re really lucky that we have such a great network that takes everyone’s waste water away, so it’s really important we look after it. The last thing anyone wants is to have a sewage in their home and that could happen if the sewers get blocked because someone’s put something they shouldn’t down our the sewers.,” said Chris

Severn Trent clears around 50,000 blockages every single year, and says it’s a problem that’s causing millions of pounds that could be avoided.

The company advises all its customers to bin all fats, oils and greases, and to only flush pee, paper and poo into its network to help prevent blockages and flooding for its customers.

“Thankfully our teams were able to remove the underwear – although it’s not a particularly pleasant job – and to get the pumps working properly again before any real problems were caused for our customers, but this is one brief encounter we could have done without,” said Chris.