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Severn Trent Water

Strategic partnership with leading water company

Case study // Tapping into collaboration with Severn Trent Water

Moving tonnes of waste from Severn Trent Water’s Finham sewage treatment works in Coventry is all in a day’s work for their regular Biffa driver. But the location of the waste he had to shift was causing inefficiencies.

The driver’s job was to move two large skips full of waste – destined for landfill and for recycling – from the plant every week.

One skip contained ‘screenings’ – materials like sticks, rags and bottles removed during the initial waste treatment. The other contained grit – usually washed into the sewerage system from roads and pavements.

It was a struggle for Biffa’s driver to manoeuvre his lorry into the area and get the chains on the containers.

He stuck upon a way to improve the operation – and it turned out the solution he reached with support from Severn Trent was good news for both companies. Alongside the financial benefits for Severn Trent Water, the new operation is more efficient and easier to manage, and the changes have had a positive impact on health and safety on the site.

One issue he faced was that the skips were sited close together. They were also close to the two outlet pipes which dispensed the waste. It became difficult for him to get his Biffa lorry near to the skips without damaging the skip, the outlet pipes and his truck.

That’s when the driver met up with Severn Trent Water’s Senior Technician Ian Parker, and explained the challenges.

Ian said: “I started chatting with the driver when he realised I was listening and receptive, he began telling me the problems he was facing.

“He was very honest and straightforward about his difficulties, and we really appreciate this type of feedback. We always try to encourage it.

“It was obvious there was an issue and I said I would find out if there was anything that could be done.”

After a series of discussions, it was decided that the best way to handle things was to create a new area for the screenings and grit. Severn Trent Water created a ‘bunded’ area – a three-sided enclosure – where the waste could be left until it was ready to be cleared away.

It means the waste can now be piped into the bunded area and then loaded on to a much bigger roll-on, roll-off skip using a large mechanical loading shovel, which Severn Trent Water already had on site.

The enclosed area is much more practical to get to and it is far easier to manage on site. Plus the chance of the area overflowing, if there is a large amount of rain which can cause the grit and screenings to flow through the pipes, is greatly reduced.

“There have been cost benefits for Severn Trent Water as well as the more obvious health and safety advantages,” said Ian. “The main one is that fewer collections are now needed, and we are able to manage the call-out time of Biffa drivers more efficiently because the skips don’t suddenly get filled up and cause an emergency.”

George Pearce, Biffa’s Head of Corporate Accounts for Utilities, added: “This kind of collaboration is really great to see. It’s really satisfying to see one of our drivers working in partnership with a customer to find a solution to a problem which has benefits for everyone.”

Martin Nobes - Head of New Business

Martin Nobes

New Business Enquiries - if you're interested in how Biffa can help support you with strategic sustainable solutions contact Martin by emailing

Severn trent - the facts

12 bath tubs

Every second Finham waste treatment plant processes an average of 1,388 litres of sewage, the equivalent of 12 bath tubs.

7.7 million

The size of the population Severn Trent Water supplies drinking water to.