Anglian Water says sewage river discharges unacceptable

Image caption,
Figures from the Rivers Trust show the amount of sewage pumped into Norfolk rivers was equivalent to 1,000 days last year

A water company boss said dumping sewage into rivers is "completely unacceptable" and outdated.

Robin Price, director of quality and environment at Anglian Water, made the comments while being questioned by a group of north Norfolk councillors.

The company can dump sewage water in heavy rainfall to stop drains backing up and flooding homes.

The Rivers Trust said sewage was being discharged into rivers across the UK on a daily basis.

Water companies can dump waste into rivers and the sea during heavy rainfall, to stop drains backing up and flooding homes with sewage.

Untreated sewage

Discharges come from combined sewer overflows (CSOs) which contain not only storm water but also untreated human and industrial waste, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Mr Price said: "We realise now [CSOs are] not how we should be dealing with surface water flooding or sewer flooding in 2022.

"We have a commitment to ensure we are not causing harm or public nuisance to [natural] assets."

He said any harm was "completely unacceptable" and CSOs were "not a 21st-century solution".

Nigel Dixon, the chairman of North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) overview and scrutiny committee, asked what the company was doing to inform people about discharges.

Mr Price said the information was published on its website and shared with the Rivers Trust, Surfers Against Sewage and beach alert systems.

But he accepted it was "not agile enough" and laws would require them to provide "near-real-time information".

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