June 22, 2024

Euro Global Post- Latest News and Analysis | UK News | Business News

European news, UK news, political news, breaking news, lifestyle and entertainment news.

England’s Storm Overflows Are Fully Monitored for Timely Sewage Reporting

The UK government announces the successful implementation of Electronic Discharge Monitors (EDMs) across all storm overflows in England, enhancing accountability for water companies. EDMs provide real-time reporting of sewage releases into rivers and seas, addressing environmental concerns.

Over the past decade, there has been a progressive increase in monitoring storm overflows, reaching approximately 15,000 in England. Despite sewage discharges being permissible only during heavy rain, 1.75 million hours of discharges were recorded last year. To address this issue, England’s nine water companies were tasked with achieving full monitoring of storm overflows by the end of 2023.

Environment Secretary Steve Barclay hails this achievement as a significant step in safeguarding waterways, communities, and wildlife. While most companies met the monitoring target, the largest water company, Thames Water, initially reported monitoring just 61% of its overflows. Following scrutiny, Thames Water clarified the count, excluding non-connected or duplicate outfalls. The Environment Agency (EA), responsible for receiving EDM data, expressed satisfaction with Thames Water’s reassessment.

Complete monitoring is expected to enhance transparency and enable the EA to address illegal discharges effectively. The EA is actively investigating potential criminal activities related to sewage treatment plants exceeding capacity.

Despite progress, River Action UK’s CEO, James Wallace, emphasises the need for proper regulation and resources for the Environment Agency and Ofwat. He argues that budget cuts have left regulators ineffective, allowing water companies to pollute without accountability.

Analysis of EDM data has raised concerns about storm overflows being used at inappropriate times, even in dry weather. Though transparency has increased, water companies remain hesitant to share data, and the impact on water quality remains unclear. The rise in unfit bathing sites this year raises questions about the effectiveness of addressing sewage dumping.

David Henderson, CEO of Water UK, asserts that storm overflows are designed to act as release valves after heavy storms. Water companies aim to minimise their use through significant investments, seeking regulatory approval for £11 billion to increase sewer capacity and prevent excess stormwater. However, this proposal involves a customer bill increase of over £150 by 2030.