AS engineers battle to stop raw sewage pouring in the River Stour at Cradley Heath, latest figures reveal Severn Trent is dealing with an unprecedented 50 per cent increase in blocked sewers.
The company has been hit with the massive rise in problems across the Black Country, causing flooding into properties, roads and water courses.
The figures relate to the period from November 2013 to March, with the wet weather exacerbating the problem.
Severn Trent Water is urging people not to put sanitary items and nappies down toilets and to avoid pouring fat, oil and grease down their kitchen sinks.
The company’s waste water manager, James Jesic, said “Sewers are only designed to cope with toilet paper and human waste, so some of the things people throw down the toilet, like sanitary products or nappies, can easily snag on the inside of a pipe and block it.”
He said fats and oils – even if rinse down with boiling water – can build up and clog the pipes, some of which are just a few inches wide.
Mr Jesic added: “When a sewer is blocked the waste has to go somewhere. This means it usually comes out of a drain and can flood roads, or even properties with sewage. And, during wet weather as we’ve been seeing recently, it’s even more likely.
“As well as being extremely unpleasant for our customers, it also ends up costing money to unblock, which is money we can’t reinvest elsewhere.”
He appealed for people to dispose of items in the bin, not the toilet or sink adding that Severn Trent customers can order a fat trap online at www.stwater.co.uk/fattrap
Meanwhile, a Severn Trent Water spokesman said repairs to the blocked and damaged sewer which caused the sewage to pour from a manhole cover into the River Stour off Cradley Forge was due to be completed today. (Thursday)