Over 105,000 incidents of untreated sewage being dumped into Welsh rivers.

A report by the Senedd’s Climate Change Committee is calling on the Welsh Government to take urgent action to tackle sewage discharges made by water companies into Welsh rivers.

The report puts forward a series of recommendations to protect Welsh waterways, calling on the Minister for Climate Change, Julie James MS, to immediately begin working with water companies to reduce the amount of raw sewage being dumped into rivers.

It has been established practice that, when wastewater treatment works are overwhelmed with water following extreme rainfall, they are allowed to release untreated sewage via ‘storm overflows’ into rivers to manage the situation.

However, the Committee notes with concern how frequent these sewage spills are, and how much they have increased in recent years.

In 2016, there were just under 15,000 such incidents recorded by 545 monitors in Wales. By 2020, despite the number of monitors having only increased to 2,000; there were over 105,000 incidents of untreated sewage being dumped into Welsh watercourses.

The report also expresses an additional concern; these numbers do not include unpermitted storm overflows or overflows that are not monitored by water companies, meaning that the real number of instances of sewage dumping is much higher.

Further information on this story can be found here with a BBC item here. The full report is here.

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