This new two-part documentary series for ITV gets down and dirty with waste water workers as they unblock toilets and drains, going waist-deep in sewers clogged with wet wipes and fat.
The sewer men at the UK’s second biggest water firm Severn Trent have a big dirty stinking job on their hands – cleaning up three billion litres of raw sewage per day.
Filmed over three months last summer, during Britain’s biggest heatwave for years, this documentary provides a vivid insight into the emergency provision of water to feed drought suffering areas and into life in the murky sewers – the blockages and fatbergs faced by staff who have to deal with the most unpleasant problems.
Following both the sewer workers and those tasked with keeping the firm running – including chief executive Liv Garfield, who is the youngest female CEO of a UK stock-market listed company – this programme lifts the lid on just what it takes to keep the nation’s water pipes flowing.
In the second episode, Pete and Shawn are at one of biggest, dirtiest deepest, pumping stations in Staffordshire, to unblock the sewage well, which has blocked up with non-organic waste known as ‘rag’. The solution is to spray it down with a high-powered water jet called a lance. Pete says: “Looking all right at the minute the lance is breaking it up and the sucker is sucking it up into the machine. You get used to that smell after 22 years of cleaning sewers – you do get used to it.”
Sewer Men – Thursday at 9.00pm on ITV.