Thames Water recently published an interactive map that shows real-time raw sewage discharges.
Thames21 Head of Improving Rivers John Bryden said: “We welcome the transparency and the leadership that Thames Water has shown in introducing this map and hopefully it will encourage other water companies to introduce their own storm discharge maps. However, the map clearly reveals the drastic extent to which raw sewage discharges are happening in the Thames. It is totally unacceptable and shocking to see the wide geographical area where rivers are badly polluted.
“From viewing the map since it was recently launched, it’s easy to deduce that there are clear areas of significant failure in standards regarding storm discharges and Thames Water really needs to step up its game in resolving these issues! These areas include Oxfordshire and pretty much the whole of the Upper Thames area, including the rivers Cherwell, Ray, Evenlode, Windrush, Ock and the Thames. In addition to these areas, the Kennet catchment and the River Roding are also badly affected by these discharges.
“Thames Water should explain why these areas of the sewage network are operating particularly poorly and outside of the law. Monitoring needs to be prioritised in these areas to identify the effect on the river and solutions developed to the issues at pace i.e. before 2025. Thames Water need to prioritise their investment in sewerage infrastructure to stop these unacceptable discharges of raw sewage into the Thames urgently.
“Elsewhere, the app shows consented storm overflows only. Thames Water is aware that there are storm outflows occurring which do not have consent. All storm outflows should be identified, monitored and included in water company targets to substantially reduce the amount of sewage entering rivers.
“The water sector has rightly come under even closer scrutiny over the past year. We will be keeping a close eye on these discharges and pressing Thames Water and other water companies to implement plans to stop these unacceptable discharges and clean up our rivers.”