The surprising contents of Britain’s sewers revealed

Prosthetic limbs, a moped and false teeth were among the stranger items fished out of sewers over the last year.

The Consumer Council for Water (CCW) has urged people to think carefully about what they pour and flush away as they revealed the grim contents of sewer pipes across England and Wales.

Other items that contributed to the £70m job of cleaning up more than 300,000 blockages included slippers and tennis balls.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But in other bizarre finds, Anglian Water pulled a mattress from the sewer, Northumbrian Water found a dead cow, Severn Trent removed a piranha fish and Southern Water found a dead snake and a severed finger.

Thames Water removed half a Mini and United Utilities found a moped in the same manhole as a sofa.

But the biggest cause of obstructions was from fats, oils and greases being poured down the sink and items like wet wipes, tissues and nappies being flushed down the toilet.

More than two thirds of sewer blockages are caused by inappropriate items and substances finding their way down the sink or toilet, CCW said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The resulting build up had led to giant “fatbergs” and other blockages which could have a “devastating” impact, including thousands of homes being flooded with sewage every year.

CCW said it was consumers who had to pay for the blockages through their water and sewerage bills.

Steve Grebby, CCW policy manager, said: “Seeing your home flooded as a result of a blocked sewer or drain can be devastating.

“But the good news is we can all play a part in reducing the risk of this happening by thinking more carefully about what we pour down the sink or flush down the toilet.”

CCW is urging people to bag and bin rather than flush away items including wet wipes, nappies, sanitary products, cotton buds, tissues, plastic bags and wrappers, plasters and chewing gum.