Severn Trent rolls out first wave of smart sewer monitors

Thursday 4th February

Severn Trent has successfully installed its first phase of smart units to prevent flooding from blockages caused by wet wipes, cooking fat and other unflushables.

Over 1,400 units have been installed in Wolverhampton since the trial started in September 2020, with plans to install another 40,000 over the next five years. 

The battery-powered devices use a hanging sensor to detect rising water levels with a tilt switch and communicate data back to the control room. If an alert is triggered, a team of engineers can respond to investigate and clear any blockages forming before a more serious incident occurs.

Tactical asset planning manager, Margaret Williams, said: “These units give us the opportunity to gain a much clearer understanding of what is happening in the sewers in real time and proactively react to potential blockages before they affect our customers or the environment.”

Severn Trent clears thousands of blockages every year, with around 70% of them being caused by the wrong things being put down the sink and toilet. Wolverhampton was identified as a blockage hotspot with over 2,000 blockages in the area in 2019. 

Margaret added: “Not only are the units surprisingly simple and easy to install, once in place they have a battery life of up to 10 years, making them efficient and low maintenance. We believe they have the potential to play a key role in the early identification of blockage incidents caused by people putting the wrong things down the toilet and drain, which would be a fantastic outcome for everyone.”