Severn Trent has launched a campaign to reunite some of its customers with their long lost teeth this Christmas.
Ken Leah has been a sewer worker for Severn Trent for about 50 years and has seen all manner of rubbish flushed over time. He has also built up quite a collection of false teeth and now Ken and Severn Trent are asking for people to come forward who may have errantly flushed their dentures over the years in a bid to reunite them with their gnashers.
Not only is Ken looking for the owners of some of his long lost teeth, he’s also hoping to remind people that they could be tempting fate in the form of a sewer blockage, or worse, sewer flooding, by putting items down the loo or sink that just don’t belong there.
Severn Trent spends over £10 million each year regularly cleaning over 700 kilometres of sewers which are prone to clogging up and clearing nearly 22,000 sewer blockages, a cost which is passed on to customers.
Two fifths of sewer blockages come from cleansing wipes and sanitary products and a further fifth come from fat, oil and grease. Other more common items found blocking sewers and drains are things like cotton buds, condoms, nappies, razor blades and plasters.
Ken, said: ““No one wants to deal with a clogged sewer or drain, especially over the holiday season. Unfortunately, that’s when we see the most problems with blockages from fat, oil and grease.
“It’s easy to assume that the warm grease and fat left over from your Christmas turkey would be ok to dump down the sink, as long as you wash it down with a lot of hot soapy water. But the reality is that eventually the fat and grease will cool and solidify, building up and blocking the drain or sewer. Better to wipe out any greasy pans with a bit of kitchen roll then put it in the bin, or pour large amounts of left over cooking grease into a pot or jar with a lid, or one of the free fat traps that Severn Trent provides to its customers.
“A blocked sewer is, of course, inconvenient for our customers but if it leads to sewer flooding it can be extremely unpleasant and stressful. When blockages and sewer flooding are caused by misuse of sewers and drains, they can be completely avoided.
“The drains that take waste water away from your home are only a few centimetres wide and are only meant to take water, loo roll and human waste. Remember toilet roll is meant to break down when it gets wet so it washes easily through the system. That’s not the case with things like sanitary products or cleansing wipes which can get stuck in smaller drains.
“Anything that gets stuck in the drain running from your home until it connects to Severn Trent’s sewer is the homeowner’s responsibility to repair and maintain, and unblocking, repairing, or replacing the waste pipe that runs from your home can be costly.”
Photographs of the false teeth are available online at www.stwater.co.uk/nominate-your-gnashers where people can click to claim their dentures. To ensure each set is reunited with its rightful owners, claimants will be asked about where and when each set was lost.