Water firms "dumped raw sewage into waterways 200,000 times in 2019"

The Guardian newspaper has claimed environmental information requests have revealed that England’s water and sewerage companies (WASCs) dumped raw sewage from combined sewer overflows on more than 200,000 occasions during 2019.


The report included no measures the amount sewage discharged and the Environment Agency told the paper: “The sewage system is designed to overflow to relieve pressure on the system – discharges from CSOs are not a sign the system is faulty or being misused.”

The Guardian said its information request revealed that a third of all inland outflows owned by the English WASCs had no monitoring installed.


All but two WASCs responded to the Guardian report. One said outflows were “highly diluted” by rainwater and wastewater. Another firm said creating separate networks for sewage and rainwater would result in “massive disruption to motorists as thousands of kilometres of road would have to be dug up, which would cost many billions of pounds and resulting in a significant increase in bills.”