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  • by Karma Loveday

Panorama reports widespread breaches of storm overflow consents

The BBC’s Panorama programme, aired last week, accused water companies of illegally dumping untreated sewage into rivers.

Panorama gathered detailed data from ten water companies in England and Wales through environmental information requests, with each company asked for information on a handful of sewage works. The investigation found seven out of the ten companies had breached discharge consent permits by dumping sewage before treating the volumes specified.

In addition, the programme reported Welsh Water had used an sewage overflow on the River Usk – a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation – without a permit (reporting also that Welsh Water said it hoped to have a permit for the overflow pipe by July and doesn't accept its sites are operating illegally).

Water UK chief executive, Christine McGourty, appeared on the programme to represent the industry. The BBC noted the water industry will invest more than a billion pounds over five years to reduce discharges into rivers.


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