Severn Trent Water ban formaldehyde in elsan waste

Published: Thursday, 18 April 2024

SEVERN Trent Water has started to ban the use of tankered elsan waste which contains formaldehyde.

Mercia Marina is heading a campaign to prevent the use of formaldehyde, pointing out that Severn Trent Water operates many wastewater treatment plants in the midlands, with other water companies likely to follow suit, that will affect the majority of boats, as well as caravans and camper vans that rely on portable toilets which use a chemical to mask the smell of the waste, the most popular containing formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde kills the 'good' bacteria

Mercia tells the problem is formaldehyde kills the 'good' bacteria water companies rely on to treat sewage. The sudden ‘toxic shock’ from a load of tankered elsan waste can seriously disrupt the processing of wastewater at the treatment plant.

Water companies refuse to allow elsan waste to go into the sewer system to limit formaldehyde reaching their treatment stations so tipping your porta potti waste down the flushing toilet is not the answer (and never is because of the mess it makes). There is a fine of up to £5,000 for tipping such waste down flushing toilets.

Many chandleries now sell formaldehyde-free loo treatments, with Midland Chandlers on the Mercia site offering several alternatives such as Thetford Aqua Cem Green (all Thetford products are formaldehyde-free), Be Fresh and Elsan Organic.

Other ideas include using biological laundry detergents in liquid and capsule form, and brewer’s yeast tablets (use at least three tablets to one cassette).

The marina plans on testing some of the alternatives over the next few months to encourage moorers to make the switch to safer products that are expected to become a requirement in the near future.