‘Sludgy, smelly mass’ of sanitary products forces closure of Belper school

Picture by Paul Reeves of the Environment Agency - @PaulReevesEA on Twitter.
Picture by Paul Reeves of the Environment Agency - @PaulReevesEA on Twitter.

Belper School will reopen tomorrow after being forced to close earlier when a sewage pipe became blocked with a “sludgy, smelly mass” of sanitary products.

The blockage caused raw sewage to push its way up through a manhole cover on John O’Gaunts Way this morning – forcing the school to shut.

Kathryn Baldock, of Severn Trent, said: “We’re really sorry that this horrible flooding caused the school to close today – the blockage has now been cleared and the area is being cleaned up by our teams.

“The flooding was caused by a mass of sanitary products which had been flushed down the toilet and unfortunately the volume was so great that the sewage had only one way to go and that was up.

“Sewer flooding is one of the most horrible things that can happen to our customers and we don’t want people to suffer in this way – it’s entirely preventable.

“The drains that take waste water away from your home are only a few inches wide and it doesn’t take much for them to get clogged up with sanitary products, along with cooking fat and grease. “It’s easy to assume that sanitary products will break down in the water over time but in reality they form a gungy mass which can cause nasty sewer flooding like we’ve seen today.

She added: “Many customers may not realise that they’re responsible for the waste pipe running away from their home up until it either crosses the property boundary or meets with another waste pipe or sewer.

“Unblocking or repairing this section of pipe can be costly but avoidable if you’re careful about what you put down your toilet or your sink.”