Thames Water pledges to cut duration of sewage spills

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

Thames Water has said it is committed to a 50 per cent reduction in the duration of sewage spills across London and the Thames Valley by 2030.

The water company is targeting a reduction in the total annual duration of spills, in an attempt to lessen their impact.

It is also looking to provide live sewage discharge notifications at all of its 468 sites by the end of 2022.

This is part of a £1.25billion programme of maintaining and improving Thames Water’s operational sites between 2020-2025.

In the past, the company has come under fire for environmental damage from significant sewage spills.

In 2017, it incurred a record fine of nearly £20million when nearly a billion litres of sewage was unleashed – including from Little Marlow Sewage Treatment Works – across 2012-2014.

The company was prosecuted by the Environment Agency, which said Thames Water was ‘completely negligent.’

After this, Thames Water pledged to invest £20million a week to improve the service.

Last week, there was a protest and petition in West Berkshire calling on Thames Water to stop sewage spills into rivers.

Speaking last Tuesday. March 15, Thames Water CEO Sarah Bentley said:

“In October 2020 we changed our position and said clearly that discharges of untreated sewage are unacceptable, even when they are permitted.

“Since then, working with others, we have a number of projects and initiatives under way which will help us reach a position where they are no longer necessary.

“That will take time, effort, and sustained investment but ultimately, we expect to be judged on our performance, which means setting and meeting targets.”

She added that Thames Water’s data pilot to increase its transparency with live notifications has been successful.

“In partnership with The Rivers Trust, we will make an additional £5million available to the catchment partnerships in the Thames Water area over the next five years,” she said.

Mark Lloyd, CEO of The Rivers Trust said: “Creating cleaner, healthier rivers fit for people and wildlife is fundamental to our future resilience.

“The Rivers Trust welcomes the urgent prioritisation that water companies are placing on addressing river pollution.

“It’s also really important that Thames Water have recognised the need to address these complex challenges in a collaborative manner.”

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