Sewage discharged into local rivers non-stop since year started

09/01/2023

Discharges have been made into the River Cherwell in three places in our area

Two local Thames Water treatment works have been pouring raw sewage into our area’s rivers non-stop since the start of the year.

The storm overflow from the Bloxham works has been flowing into the Bloxham Brook continually since December 30 – some 225 hours by 5pm on Sunday evening.  The Boddington works is even worse, with foul water making its way into the Boddington Canal continually for 293 hours by Sunday tea-time.   It first began overflowing on December 27.

The information has come to light thanks to a new alert system on the Thames Water website which maps discharges in near-real time.

As the weekend drew to a close raw sewage was also flowing at six other local sites, including into the River Cherwell at Cropredy and Banbury, the Hanwell Brook at Hanwell, and the Shutford Stream at Shutford.

Official indicators showed that storm overflows had been operating in recent hours at Moreton Pinkney, Wardington, Chacombe, Horley, Shotteswell, Warmington, Kings Sutton and Clifton.   In Chipping Warden sewage had flowed into the River Cherwell for 32 hours.

Thames Water has highlighted they are the first company to make this data available to the public.   They say they have a commitment to a 50% reduction in the total annual duration of discharges in their area by 2030, and an 80% reduction in “sensitive catchments”.

A spokesperson for the company told Banbury FM: “Taking action to improve the health of rivers is a key focus for us, but we also need to explain what is happening, and why.  After a successful trial in the Oxford area, we have decided to provide close to real-time information about storm discharges from all of our 468 permitted locations. This is a key part of our River Health Action Plan to radically improve both performance and transparency in order to protect and improve the environment.

“We are absolutely committed to protecting and enhancing our rivers and the communities who love them, and we want to make these discharges of diluted sewage unnecessary as quickly as possible. We are the first company to provide these alerts for inland waters and this ‘near real-time’ data is available to customers as a map on our website. We want to lead the way with this transparent approach to data and the alerts will be available through an open data platform for third parties, such as swimming and environmental groups, to use.

“Of course, what matters most is stopping the need for the discharges.  Our shareholders have recently approved a business plan that sees us spending an additional £2billion beyond what our customers are funding so we can improve outcomes for customers, leakage and river health.  This will allow us to deliver our commitment to a 50% reduction in the total annual duration of discharges across London and the Thames Valley by 2030, and within that an 80% reduction in sensitive catchments.

“We have started the £100 million upgrade of our Mogden sewage treatment works and are currently increasing sewage treatment capacity at a number of our other sewage works across the Thames Valley, including Witney, Chesham and Fairford to be completed by 2025. 

“We have a long way to go – and we certainly can’t do it on our own – but the ambition is clear.”

Thames Water posted profits of £398m for the six months to September last year.


Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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