Inland Waterways: Sewage

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 1 June 2023.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she is taking steps to increase detection of the discharge of sewage into waterways.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We have increased the number of storm overflows monitored across the network from 7% in 2010 to 91% now monitored, and we will reach 100% cover by end of this year. In April, we launched our consultation on Continuous Water Quality Monitoring and Event Duration Monitoring. This outlines the government’s proposals to enhance the monitoring of storm overflow and final effluent discharges and to report on this in near-real time.

The Environment Agency has instructed water companies to install new flow monitors on more than 2,000 wastewater treatment works to identify what is happening at those works during the sewage treatment process itself.

The Environment Agency and Ofwat have recently launched the largest criminal and civil investigations into water company sewage discharges ever, at over 2200 treatment works, following new data coming to light as a result of increased monitoring.

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