Taking sewage away

Average amount of sewage treated across England and Wales

A large amount of sewage is taken from almost every property in the country so once you flush you don’t have to think about it again.

3,909 Tonnes of organic material per day
Equivalent to the weight of
328
double decker buses

Source: Water UK; England and Wales, Apr 2015 - Mar 2016

Properties connected to sewers

24,702,355

Source: Water UK; England and Wales, Apr 2014 - Mar 2015

  • No, some houses in rural locations will have a septic tank or something similar which needs to be emptied on a regular basis. The waste is taken to a local treatment works where it is safely processed, and can be used to generate clean energy, or fertilise land.

  • When you flush the loo or empty the sink, or put anything down the drain, this wastewater, along with rainwater from gutters and road drains, runs into the sewer. It flows to a nearby wastewater treatment works where it is processed so the water can be separated, treated and safely discharged back into rivers and the sea. The solids that are separated (called sludge) are increasingly used to generate energy or converted in to fertiliser.

    It is so important that the only things to go down your loo are the three 'Ps' - poo, pee and paper. Anything else, for example wet wipes or sanitary items, block the sewers and cause flooding which is a horrible experience. See our page on sewer flooding for more.

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