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‘Extreme’ storms at fault for amount of effluent discharge into Usk say Welsh Water

08 Nov 2021 2 minute read
The bridge over the River Usk at Brecon, seen from the Promenade. Picture by WelshDave (CC BY-SA 4.0).

“Extreme conditions” caused by storms in 2020 was responsible for the amount of effluent released into the river Usk, according to Welsh Water.

Brecon treatment works, operated by Welsh Water, spilt for 3,449 hours into the Usk, according to a report was prepared by Professor Peter Hammond, a member of the campaign group Windrush Against Sewage Pollution.

The analysis used data provided by water companies and environmental agencies to assess incidents where sewage treatment works released untreated waste diluted with rainwater into watercourses.

This happens when the treatment plants are in danger of being overwhelmed by rainfall so that the effluent does not back up into people’s homes.

Welsh Water was one of five water companies that were part of the report prepared for the Times newspaper, alongside Wessex Water, Southern Water, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities.

A spokesman for Welsh Water told the Times: “Part of the period in question saw the UK experience nine named storm events and [2020] was deemed the third wettest year since 1910.

“Despite significant investment, our wastewater system, and our sewers which often carry surface water as well as wastewater, were not designed to deal with such intense and extreme storm conditions.”

It comes after Tory MPs came under fire last month for voting against an amendment to the Environment Bill that would have forced water companies to reduce their discharge of effluent into rivers and seas.

However, following public outrage at the vote, the UK government announced a partial U-turn over the sewage amendment after Tory rebels threatened to scupper an upcoming vote in the Commons.

MPs will debate the latest plans today.

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Gareth Wardell
Gareth Wardell
2 years ago

All generalisations are false stated George Bernard Shaw. Dwr Cymru deserve congratulation for their spin Doctors, using general statements. However, this privatised company needs to explain why discharges of untreated sewage is discharged via the CSO’s during dry periods into our water courses and onto our beaches.

Ex Plaid member
Ex Plaid member
2 years ago says a not for profit company. While “not good enough”, Dwr Cymru are top of the league of the UK water company rogues(top better than bottom). Once the other UK water companies are as “least bad” as Dwr Cymru, then its time to start being critical.

Pob lwc
Pob lwc
2 years ago

So it’s fine for Dwr Cymru to fill our rivers with raw sewage, because other companies dump even more? What utter rubbish.

2 years ago

Only a matter of time before they blame ‘climate change’ for their illegal discharges.
Truth is it’s more convenient and far more profitable to pump raw sewage into our rivers and seas than it is to treat it.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
2 years ago

Swimming as a kid in my local harbour I knew where the discharge pipe was and coupled with the direction of wind and tide could plot a course that avoided most of the effluent. The odd rogue examples could be spotted by eye at the last minute…

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