Updated: Apr 12
The Rivers Trust have updated their Sewage Map to include the latest 2022 data.
Sewage is discharged into rivers across the UK and Ireland on a daily basis. Data published by Defra and Dŵr Cymru/Welsh Water recently shows that untreated sewage was discharged 384,568 times across England and Wales, for a total duration of more than two million hours!
Using the Rivers Trust Sewage Map you can see where these spills occurred. You can zoom in on your local area, search by location, or visit the 'investigate' tab to see data breakdowns by constituency, receiving water body, and more.
The latest sewage map data shows that whilst increased monitoring is taking place, raw sewage spills continue to be a problem plaguing our rivers. Over 2,800 sewage spills were counted across the Combined Essex, and East Suffolk Catchments in 2022.
Let's take a closer look at the 2022 data for our Essex and Suffolk rivers but be warned: you might not like what you discover!
Combined Essex CaBA catchment
In 2022, monitoring was carried out on 182 out of 292 storm overflows in the Combined Essex Catchment compared to 144 out of 92 storm overflows in 2021.
A total of 1,973 spills were counted compared to a total of 3,083 spills counted in 2021.
These spills occurred for a total duration of 9,790 hours compared to the total duration of 25,860 hours in 2021.
East Suffolk CaBA catchment
In 2022, monitoring was carried out on 56 out of 77 storm overflows in the East Suffolk Catchment compared to 46 out of 77 in 2021.
The number of spills counted was higher compared to the previous year, with 909 spills counted in 2022 and 847 spills counted in 2021
However, the total duration the spills lasted for was 2,932 hours compared to a total duration of 5,743 hours in 2021.
"The data on discharges from combined sewer overflows (also known as storm overflows) from 2022 is distressing. Despite a fall in the overall number of spills and an increase in monitoring coverage compared to 2021, this is attributed to the historically dry weather rather than any significant improvements in water company performance or waste water infrastructure" - Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of The Rivers Trust
Explore the interactive map!
Knowing where sewage is discharged into rivers will enable you to take action and to make informed decisions about where you swim, paddle, catch and play. The Rivers Trust Sewage Map below shows where the sewerage network discharges and overflows into rivers.
Report an environmental incident
While you’re out, if you spot a pollution incident, any illegal activity or anything else, please report it immediately to the authorities.
These hotlines are open 24 hours a day:
England, Scotland and Northern Ireland: 0800 80 70 60
Wales: Natural Resources Wales hotline: 0300 065 3000
Ireland: EPA Headquarters: 053 916 0600 / Lo-Call Number: 1890 33 55 99*