Guides go round the bend to learn the subtle art of flushing

A group of intrepid Cheshire guides went behind-the-scenes at their local sewage works to find out what happens around the waste bend when they flush the loo.

As well as seeing the natural processes that turn people’s waste back into healthy, clean river water, members of 1st Holmes Chapel Guides learned about the roles of women in the modern workplace, and the etiquette of the perfect flush.

They were guided around the Holmes Chapel Wastewater Treatment Works by United Utilities’ female process controller Nicci Sant, whose job is to make sure everything runs smoothly.

The trip was arranged by guide leader Rachael Dingle, a life-long girl guide who also works at United Utilities.

“I gave a talk at my children’s primary school about what people shouldn’t put down the toilet and the children loved it. I thought the older girls might also be interested, and I was right. They all found it really interesting and asked lots of questions.

“They were surprised that it didn’t smell as much as they thought and also by the amount of rags, wet wipes and period products that were removed from the sewage and put into a skip. These are the sorts of things that should never be put down the toilet because they can block.

“We have just done a badge on the effects of period poverty, so it was interesting for them to see what happens to those type of products when they are flushed down the toilet, and many of them have been educating their own families that they need to go in the bin and not down the loo.”