Thames21’s response to Event Duration Monitoring Data news

New figures from the Environment Agency are expected to reveal how much raw sewage is dumped into England’s river and coastal areas. 

The Times  (26 March 2023) reported that it received ‘preliminary data’ which reveals that sewage was dumped into rivers and coastal areas across England more than 300,000 times last year. Please read our response below.

A Thames21 spokesperson said: “This is appalling. Water companies have themselves acknowledged that they have underinvested in their sewerage infrastructure for many years and desperately need to modernise their networks. Collectively, how much profits are water companies making in the UK and what proportion of those profits are they spending on outdated infrastructure that is polluting our rivers? Are they spending more on their shareholders than the latter? They need to be transparent and clear with the public to let them know what is happening. We will repeat our call to water companies to prioritise their investment in sewerage infrastructure to stop unacceptable discharges of raw sewage into the Thames and its tributaries to protect people and our wildlife.

“Water companies should not just rely on investing in ‘end-of-pipe solutions’ such as storm tanks, which are underground containers that collect and detain a mixture of sewage and runoff, that runs off streets and housing, to fix the pollution problem. The climate emergency, continued development, and degradation of water company assets will overload these structures in time. They should also focus their efforts on preventing this rainwater on entering into the sewerage system in the first place – so tackling the problem at source. Water companies should be working with and funding other stakeholders, such as local authorities, to invest in sustainable drainage solutions such as rain gardens or wetlands that capture rainwater before entering into the sewerage system.”