Press statement: response to BBC investigation revealing illegal sewage spills on dry days by water firms

A statement from The Rivers Trust

Matthew Woodard


A BBC investigation has revealed that three major water companies illegally discharged sewage hundreds of times last year on days when it was not raining, a practice known as "dry spilling". Here is our response:

"It’s depressing if not surprising to hear that dry spills are occurring so often. Discharging untreated sewage in dry weather is bad for both human health and river health - lower river flows mean more concentrated pollutants at a time when more people want to enjoy their rivers.

"Although a problem in their own right, these discharges are also the ‘canary in the coal mine’, pointing to greater problems in our sewerage and river systems. This could be blockages in the system, groundwater seeping into broken pipes, misconnections, or just poor management choices.

"Whichever it is, we need to see robust, urgent action which looks at the sewerage and river management systems as a whole to drive effective and efficient solutions for healthy rivers that contribute to tackling climate change and the biodiversity crisis and that everyone can enjoy."

Water firms illegally spilled sewage on dry days - data suggests - BBC News

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