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Bizarre objects in Reading Festival sewage

Monday 2nd September 2019 12:00

Toilet rolls and cardboard inner tubes

An inflatable horse and a child’s doll were some of the bizarre objects flushed down the toilets at Reading Festival this year.

Other items found by Thames Water in the 750,000 litres of sewage collected from the music festival loos included wallets, mobile phones, wigs, wellies, underwear – and even tents.

Thames Water worked night and day to process and treat the huge quantity of poo and pee generated by the thousands of music fans who attended the festival over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Nine tankers, which each carry almost 19,000 litres of sewage, worked from 6am until 10pm every day sucking up the waste from the toilets, before transporting it to Reading Sewage Works where it was turned into electricity to help power the site.

Special screens at the plant ensured foreign objects were filtered out before they got into the treatment process, with anything that was found then raked out by hand.

Any lost wallets containing ID have been handed back to the festival organisers.

The sewage is then transformed into renewable energy by extracting gas from a by-product called sludge to generate electricity for the Island Road plant. What's left is sold to farmers as fertiliser.

Reading Sewage Works produces 50 per cent of all the electricity it uses, while Thames Water as a whole generates around a quarter of the power it needs from waste.

A Thames Water spokesman said: "Sewage sludge is an energy rich resource, with a high calorific content which we extract as biogas and use to generate electricity."