Hundreds of ‘illegal’ sewage spills exposed – is YOUR neighborhood safe?
The UK’s largest water supplier is accused of unlawfully dumping a frightening amount of raw sewage into the country’s rivers. Is your neighborhood secure? According to new data, Thames Water, the UK’s largest water provider, has illegally dumped untreated sewage in rivers on two out of every three days for the past three years, covering most of Greater London, Luton, the Thames Valley, Surrey, Gloucestershire, north Wiltshire, far west Kent, and other parts of England. The spills, which were first reported in the Financial Times, are alleged to have been recorded incorrectly and constitute a major public health danger.
According to statistics obtained by the Windrush Against Sewage Pollution Campaign Group, Thame’s Water’s sewage treatment facilities in West Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds illegally deposited sewage on 735 days between 2018 and 2020.
You can check your location on a live map from the Rivers Trust, which shows sewage dumps and overflows across the UK.
You can also sign up for Thames Water’s dumping notifications and follow their Twitter page for updates on spills and dumps.
The Environment Agency (EA) also maintains a water quality check page, which may be found here.
However, the current data reveals a concerning trend of illicit sewage disposal that is not being reported appropriately by the EA.
Despite the 735 reported violations in the last three years, data on sewage treatment and spills shows that Thames Water has only registered 33 “dry” and “early” breaches in the last 11 years.
According to the research, 95 percent of dry and early sewage spills go unrecorded.
And it’s not only in Oxfordshire: according to the Environment Agency, only 14% of England’s rivers reached the basic ecological standard of “excellent or better” in 2019.
When rainfall runoff from roads and roofs overwhelms sewage treatment plants, the EA enables water corporations to discharge some untreated sewage into rivers via storm overflows.
This is partly to prevent sewage from overflowing into people’s houses, gardens, and streets.
Companies are forbidden from creating “dry spills” of untreated sewage when there is no rain or “early” spills of sewage discharged when a treatment plant fails to meet a minimum treatment rate.
“Putting untreated sewage into rivers is. “Brinkwire Summary News,” according to Thames Water’s ‘river health’ page.