Josie ‘The Armchair’ Ashton
Senior data analyst in the operational service improvement team
I’ve been with Southern Water for almost 14 years, working in a number of different areas. My job now surrounds operational customer experience and our service incentive mechanism, which helps us to ensure we’re doing the best we can for our customers.
Part of this is monitoring how customers feel about the way we respond to and deal with internal sewage flooding. My team monitors customer contact and feedback, and makes changes to the way we work in order to give our customers the best possible service we can during such a distressing event.
I wanted to be involved with this campaign to help raise awareness of the human cost of internal flooding incidents, and how easily they can be avoided if we all take a bit more care about what we flush and pour down the drain.
Whilst our customers consistently tell us that we provide a great service if they are flooded internally, it would be wonderful to save hundreds of households the stress and heartache of an internal flood.
Steve ‘Pink Teddy’ Williams
Network protection and enforcement officer
I’ve been with Southern Water for four years, following a 30 year career in the police. I was brought in specifically to tackle the issue of fat, oil and grease in our sewers caused by restaurants, cafes and takeaways.
I work with a view to investigating and prosecuting repeat offenders, which was an industry-leading approach at the time. It led to us being the first company to bring a successful prosecution against a restaurant for the repeated abuse of our sewer network.
I check the sewers, manholes and chambers of the sewer network in my area. I analyse any blockages I find, check the condition of our sewers and investigate any impediments that I find such as fat, oil, grease, wipes, roots, silt, foreign objects and any other damage.
I arrange for blockages to be removed and/or for any repairs to be done as needed. I also chat with the business owners whose actions are causing the problems in the sewers, providing information and educational material about their legal responsibilities.
I was very happy to lend my voice to this as I have the perfect face for radio! It is an important issue that needs to be dealt with in a systematic and sympathetic way and I felt that I could relay my story in a way that would appeal to our customers.
Tim ‘The Toilet’ Bagnall
Wastewater services manager
I joined Southern Water in 1987 and started out designing water and sewage works.
I moved on to manage the technical aspects of planning, design and operation of our sludge treatment process and then spent time developing teams and management systems to run it.
My current role is concerned with controlling industrial wastewater discharged into our sewerage network.
I also have a team engaged in our fat oil, grease and unflushables project, which is all about educating our customers about what and what not to flush and pour down their sinks, in an effort to bring down the number of blockages that cause sewage flooding and pollution.
Interestingly, the challenges faced by the project are increasingly overtaking the challenges of industrial waste, due to the sheer volume of sewer abuse by domestic customers.
This includes pollution and internal as well as external flooding. My fat, oil, grease and unflushables team are very aware of the consequences of sewer abuse and the misery it causes due to internal sewage flooding. That is why I'm so keen to lend a voice to this film.
Sharon ‘Washomatic’ Holdstock
Field customer engagement officer
I’ve worked for Southern Water for five years and have previously worked in the call centre and customer service department.
I visit areas that have issues with internal and external flooding as a result of repeat blockages. I advise customers on what not to flush down their toilets or put down their sinks to try and prevent the repeat blockages, which may also pollute the environment. I also give talks and presentations to, among others, councils, schools and colleges, community groups and universities students.
I’m also part of the out-of-hours rota for the Major Incident Team & Flood Action Group, so I attend anything outside of normal working hours that causes customers distress when flooding or major incident occur.
I was delighted to be asked to be one of the voices of this film as I have direct experience of how customers are affected by the heartbreak of sewage flooding their homes, gardens or businesses.
I know how distressed I would be if my home was damaged and all my personal items had to be destroyed because of someone else’s lack of thought about what they were putting down their sinks and toilets.
I feel very passionate about our project and the importance of getting our message out to people.
I also have two grandsons and I feel I have a duty of care to think of their future and the environment they live in.