• STV
  • MySTV

Found in sewers: a snake, toy soldiers ... and a cow

Scottish Water reveals range of odd items discovered as it urges: think before you flush.

On tap: Clearing blockages costs £6m a year.
© STV

A snake, a cow, a frog and a platoon of toy soldiers were all found in Scotland's sewer network in the past year, water bosses have revealed.

Scottish Water, which spends £6 million a year clearing blocked pipes, also discovered a badget and a goldfish clogging up the system.

While some items end up there having fallen into drains or manholes, many others are simply flushed away - and the organisation has asked people to think more carefully about their habits.

Waste water general manager Rob Mustard said: "When sewers, pumping stations and sewage works get clogged they overflow and sewage escapes into rivers. This endangers public health, wildlife and the environment."

A worker at the Dunfermline waste water treatment works was stunned to notice a Mexican desert king snake curled beneath a metal grid boardwalk he was strolling along. He called the Scottish SPCA, who collected the non-venomous constrictor and took it away.

A goldfish now named Pooh, recovered in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, and a frog found in a pump in Dornoch, Highlands, were none the worse for their time inside the sewer system. A live badger found in a pumping station well at Drongan in Ayrshire also made a full recovery after it was rescued by the Scottish SPCA.

However, a sheep found in a manhole chamber and a cow recovered from a storm tank were not so lucky.

Many larger items enter the network after falling in when manhole covers are stolen.

As well as animals, Scottish Water workers recovered items including a hardy Action Man still wearing his boots and an iron that still worked despite its time in the network. Workers in Dumfries even found the credit card of one of their colleagues, which had been stolen from his wife's handbag on a night out.

Scottish Water dealt with more than 36,500 choked drains last year and urged the public to help reduce the amount by being more careful. The organisation estimates that 340 million items of sanitary waste are flushed each year and said that 55% of all sewer blockages were caused by people disposing of cooking fat down their sink.

Mr Mustard said: "Scottish Water is playing its part to improve the quality of rivers, watercourses and beaches for communities across the country. Rivers, in particular, are the lifeblood of so much of our inland wildlife.

"However, we need local people to play their part and help us protect our natural environment."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on it's website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.